According to Bob McKenzie, goaltender Chad Johnson will sign with the Buffalo Sabres today. The contract is worth $2.5 million for one year.
Chad Johnson signs with Sabres, 1 yr, $2.5 M
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2017
Chad Johnson Signs with the Buffalo Sabres
Johnson was drafted in the fifth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He went to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where he played all four years. In his senior year, he posted a 1.65 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage, good enough to be named Central Collegiate Hockey Association Player of the Year.
His rights were traded to the New York Rangers following his graduation, for a fifth round pick. In three years with the Rangers organization, Johnson was unable to find much NHL time. He appeared in just six games with the Rangers but was a mainstay on their AHL affiliates. Johnson played 136 games in the AHL for the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Connecticut Whale before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2012.
Johnson signed with the Phoenix Coyotes, where he would appear in just four NHL games. With the Portland Pirates, Johnson had a down year, with a 3.00 GAA and a .903 SV%. He left the Coyotes the following summer, signing with the Boston Bruins to backup Tuukka Rask.
Making the NHL
In his first true stint in the NHL, Johnson performed admirably. In 27 games with the Bruins, Johnson had a 2.10 GAA and a .925 SV%. The performance ended up in a two-year, $2.6 million contract with the New York Islanders.
Johnson struggled with the Islanders in 2014-15. In 19 games, the native of Saskatoon had a 3.08 GAA and a .889 SV%, which resulted in a trade to the Buffalo Sabres. He was shipped with a third-round pick in exchange for goaltender Michal Neuvirth.
With the Sabres, in 2015-16, Johnson returned to form. He finished the year with a 2.36 GAA and a .920 SV% in a career-high 45 games. Although he did not return to the Sabres, he did parlay the performance into a one-year, $1.7 million contract with the Calgary Flames.
This past year with Calgary, Johnson was pencilled in as Brian Elliott‘s backup. However, after a poor start, Johnson was thrust into duty to save the Flames’ season. In 36 games, the 31-year-old had a 2.59 GAA and a .910 SV%. After Calgary was eliminated in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, Johnson joined Canada at the World Championships in Paris and Cologne.
Johnson has emerged as a consistent backup that can eat games. He has played more than 35 games in each of the past two seasons, posting good numbers. Johnson was one of the best backups on the open market and will help solidify the Sabres crease.