Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



Defenseman Jack Johnson has absorbed lots of criticism since joining the Penguins. His contract is a little long (five years) and a little expensive ($16.25 million). Johnson’s tenure in Pittsburgh started very poorly.

But Johnson was plus-5 in February.

He was even in January.

He was plus-4 in December.

After being minus-13 at one point, Johnson is just minus-3 on the season. He has been minus in just six of his last 29 games.Is it OK to say Johnson is playing better? He is, and very much so.

Johnson is minus-3. Evgeni Malkin is minus-19.

The plus/minus stat doesn’t mean everything. But it’s not meaningless, either.

When the Penguins’ defensemen are healthy, Johnson will be the left-sided defenseman on the bottom pair. Or he’ll be kept in tandem with Justin Schultz on the second pair, a combination that’s worked fairly well.

Johnson, used like that, is OK. It’s better than what many teams have.

If that deprives you of someone to blame, why not try the guy that’s minus-19? Or get out the fancy stats and K-Y Jelly, and wait for Erik Gudbranson to put a skate wrong.

Image Courtesy of Getty Images.

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