The New York Islanders announced that they have re-signed forward Ross Johnston to a four-year $4 million contract, or $1 million per season AAV. The contract is a one-way deal that carries him through the 2021-22 season.
#Isles Transaction: The team has agreed to terms on a four-year contract with Ross Johnston.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) July 9, 2018
Islanders Re-Sign Ross Johnston
Johnston, who was never drafted, signed with the Islanders in his final year of junior hockey in 2014-2015. In 25 games with the club, Johnston has scored three goals and added three assists for a total of six points. He also accumulated 66 penalty minutes.
While Johnston isn’t the most offensively gifted player, he can produce the odd goal but focuses mostly on the defensive side of the game and is known as an enforcer. Johnston projects to be a fourth liner who can kill penalties.
While a lot of Islanders fans will be happy to have Johnston back in the lineup, the term of the contract is rather confusing. Lamoriello has already brought in Tom Kuhnhackl, Leo Komarov and Matt Martin to fill in the holes on the bottom lines. So why give so much term to yet another fourth line player and have him on a one-way deal? For a player who isn’t a lock to make the roster, the one-way deal is very puzzling. It does, however, allow the Islanders to send him back and forth between the AHL and NHL freely, as surely no team will claim such a lengthy contract for a fringe NHL’er.
With Lamoriello bringing back Martin to complete what was one of the toughest fourth lines in the NHL a few seasons ago with Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas, it’s hard to envision a place for Johnston in the lineup as a regular.
One thing is for sure. Lamoriello is bringing a culture change to the Islanders. He is a fan of the scrappy players as can be seen from his other signings. He wants his players to be competitors and work for every puck. That’s what he’s getting out of Johnston. While they may not be the most skilled lineup, they will certainly be one of the toughest to play against. It’s a lineup that has Lamoriello written all over it.
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