#Marlies to sign F Justin Johnson. No accident w/ guys like Kapanen/Nylander there. 34 year old Alaskan one of toughest in the sport.
— Andrew Walker (@FAN590Walker) July 25, 2015
The 34-year-old Johnson has 64 points and 1,403 penalty minutes in 388 career games in the ECHL and AHL. He spent all of last season with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL.
He’s appeared in only two NHL games, both in 2013-14, and made his mark in one of them versus Buffalo. There’s really only one thing hockey fans will remember Johnson from and it’s his thoroughly satisfying knockout of the NHL’s biggest-ever meatstick, John Scott.
One doesn’t anticipate the Maple Leafs ever icing a dedicated knuckle chucker under this management/coaching regime (and probably never again, given the way the NHL has changed in this respect). Mike Babcock’s Red Wings finished last in the League last year in fighting majors with eight.
However, the addition of Richard Clune (worth noting Clune can definitely play compared to Johnson) and potentially Johnson does suggest Marlies GM Kyle Dubas values the sense of security they can provide to the young (often undersized) players entering their first professional men’s league, be it the AHL or the ECHL. There is no shortage of goons still taking shifts in the AHL or the ECHL, the Marlies are again going to be a young team, and Dubas plans on growing the Solar Bears as the third tier in the development system. Can’t really hurt to have one or two around.
- Quinn MacKeen: In The Land Of The Leafs, The One-Eyed Reporter Is King (MLHS)
The idea is that this binocular method – just as with human vision and depth perception – will then help us see more of the prospects’ potential that is otherwise hidden or blurred. Who knows? If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get to see one of those big talent, late round “home run” kids step out of the shadows.
- Staff: Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello’s In Depth Interviews with Bob McCown — Transcript (MLHS)
We have a good group here. Some people ask, “how does this work?” We had a General Manager last year. It works very much the same. He’s just got a different name. We will find a way to make this work.
- Jonas Siegel: Big picture obscures Lamoriello’s more recent reality (TSN)
Like Cliff Fletcher then, it seems the Leafs hired Lamoriello based on the bigger picture of a Hall of Fame career and the experience he could offer to an inexperienced front office. All that ignores a spotty recent track record, one that illustrates Lamoriello’s struggles to adapt in the salary-cap era.
- Staff: The history of Lou Lamoriello: friends and foes tell the legendary tale (TSN)
BETTMAN: Lou was somebody I was more than comfortable I could rely on in negotiations with respect to the issues that came in with free agency, particularly the transactional development of players – how do you draft and move a player along for his career, when free agency made sense, when unrestricted free agency made sense. He was very good at understanding the dynamics how it worked and where it needed to improve.
- Scott Wheeler: New Leafs goalie coach Steve Briere part of organizational shift (PPP)
“There is no one-size-fits-all template for training goaltenders, just like there isn’t one for players. What works or is needed for one goaltender (or player) may not be needed or work for another,” said the strength and condition coach, who works with professional and elite amateur hockey players. “Specificity is the name of the game.”