Monday, August 14, 2006

Blast From the Past: Wings Sign Greg Johnson to Second Stint

Ken Holland is bringing together the Wings of old. Greg Johnson, 35, is back. Yes, that's the Greg Johnson of 10 years ago, who was traded to Pittsburgh midway through the '96-'97 season (just missing a Cup run) for Tomas Sandstrom. A horrible trade, it turned out. Sandstrom went 20 games in the playoffs with only 4 assists, and lacked the offensive punch seen earlier in his career. We hated Sandstrom back then, and wanted Greg Johnson back. Well, Holland brought our old friend back. He's put up some decent seasons, and has been a pretty consistent 10 goal, 20 assist player - that is, when injuries don't plague him. Last season, he went 11 goals, 8 assists through 68 games, missing time with a groin strain. My first reaction to this move was thumbs up. Johnson is speedy, and could be a great playmaker on a team like the Wings. Also, his TSN profile says he is good at killing penalties and taking faceoffs. But then I look at his age and what happened to him last season. If he stays healthy, this could be a great move. But, if a groin injury creeps up, it could mess up his entire season. I'm disappointed Holland hasn't been able to sign more players outside the organization (second, third stints not included). I give Holland credit for being creative and probably getting a bargain forward who can play fourth line center for the Wings. But I'd rather have seen the Wings go out and get a guy with more offensive potential: Bondra, Nolan, Carter, Dumont, etc. Johnson replaces Franzen (if necessary), and still leaves the need to fill in for Shanahan's production. I'm still waiting... UPDATED (8/15 11:03 am) Greg Johnson's base salary for 2006-2007 will be $500,000 via the NHLPA site, with I'm sure some performance-based incentives included.


At 8/14/2006 04:42:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

He's also assembling a team of former Preds...

Looks like the Wings are going less an offensive route than a defensive one. We should have a great team defense next season. If they don't pick up some offense, though, they'll really need it.

Good to see Greg back. He also brings leadership to the table, having been the captain in Nashville.


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