A Look At The Biggest Question In Boston: Who Is Chad Johnson?

Well it happened. 

Niklas Svedberg was sent down to Providence over the weekend, ending the offseason long question of who will be backing up Tuukka Rask to start the 2013-2014 NHL season. That's right folks, NHL journeyman Chad Johnson has won the position of backing up a potential Vezina Finalist goaltender in Boston. So I guess the real question is…

Who the hell is Chad Johnson? 

If you look at the stats, there's not much there that gives you hope. He hasn't lit the NHL on fire, but to be fair, he hasn't been given the chance either. He's played 10 NHL games since he was drafted by Pittsburgh in 2006, with 5 of them coming in the 2009-2010 season with the New York Rangers. 

Last season Johnson played 4 games with the Phoenix Coyotes and his year was, actually, pretty good. Johnson went 2-0-2 which included a 21 save shutout against Nashville in January. 

It's tough to really put into context the type of player the Bruins are going to be getting, especially when you have a decorated goalie in the AHL who is ready to take over the back-up position. Svedberg had an amazing run in Providence last season, but Bruins management may not think he's ready. Boston loves  to make their goalies prove themselves before they are moved into the spotlight. They did it with Tuukka Rask while Tim Thomas was winning Vezina Trophies and they'll do it with Niklas Svedberg and Malcolm Subban as well.

 chad johnson

It could also have to do with Johnson's contract, which would make him clear waivers if he were sent down to the AHL at any point. Although I don't see Chad Johnson being a hot goalie commodity – you never know what teams are doing. Seriously, go look at Toronto's cap space and the number of players they have as free agents next season and figure out how they'll handle that mess. 

I also want you to read some Justin Goldman and our friends at Dobber Hockey wrote about Johnson in their Fantasy Hockey Guide:

Chad Johnson, Boston. The tiny NHL sample size will ward off many managers, but Johnson’s success is worth noting. He was 2-0-2 last season with 103 saves on 108 shots for Phoenix, including a 34-save gem in a win over Detroit on April 4. He allowed just two goals at even strength and had a 21-save shutout in his season debut. At age 27, Johnson is in the sweet spot for entering his prime and he has paid his dues in the AHL. His game plateaued in the Rangers’ system, but he broke through with Coyotes goalie coaches Sean Burke and Mike Minard. The defensive system is different in Boston, but he’ll still be well-supported. Boston could have graduated AHL Goalie of the Year Niklas Svedberg or signed a veteran, but they gave Johnson a one-way deal. That action speaks louder than words.

So with a more defense-oriented system, it's possible that Johnson could shine in Boston this year. I mean we're all in agreement that Johnson is a placeholder for Svedberg, but like Justin wrote, the Bruins obviously saw something to give Johnson a one year contract…

Or…

Or they don't believe Svedberg is ready. 

Either way, it's time for Chad Johnson to show us what he can do in Boston. With an injury history behind Tuukka Rask, there's potential that he sees more than the 20 games or so he's slated to get. 

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