Stephen Johns is headed back to Texas. The Dallas Stars have re-signed Johns to a three-year contract that will carry an average annual value of $2.35MM. Johns was scheduled to become a restricted free agent this offseason, and will now be heading to unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021.
Johns took a major step forward in 2017-18 with career highs offensively and defensively. The 25-year-old blue liner registered 15 points on the year, including eight goals, which tied John Klingberg as best among all Dallas defensemen. John’s +10 rating was also among the best on the Stars, tied for seventh among all skaters. In his own zone, John’s shutdown game garnered league-wide attention this season. His 201 hits and 155 blocked shots were both the top marks in Dallas and top-25 in the NHL. Johns plays a fast, physical style and can be used in many different situations.
At just over $2MM per year through the next three years of the prime of Johns’ career, Stars GM Jim Nill got a great deal on this extension. Dallas has struggled at preventing goals in recent years and the team’s defense is not without significant blame for those issues. However, the Stars began to turn that around this year and the improvement in Johns’ game is a major reason why. If Johns continues to develop a strong two-way game, his contract will be a bargain that allows the Stars to build their roster knowing that they have a dependable veteran on the back end.