BostonBruins.com – In transaction news, the Bruins announced on Sunday that defenseman Aaron Johnson would be rejoining the team in Boston after completing his conditioning stint with the Providence Bruins. The B’s assigned D-man and Massachusetts native David Warsofsky to Providence to make room for Johnson on their roster.
“I don’t think it was anything against David, but you know, Aaron Johnson was sent down on a conditioning stint to play a few games on the weekend,” said Coach Julien, following the B’s Sunday practice at TD Garden on the transaction made by the Bruins brass. “He’s an NHL caliber defenseman, that’s why we signed him, so certainly we have him back right now and that was a decision upper management made last night after sending him down for a few nights.”
On a conditioning loan since January 17 (after spending the week with the Bruins during training camp), Johnson skated in two games while with the AHL affiliate P-Bruins, assisting on a goal and adding two penalty minutes.
“It was nice to get on the ice and get lots of minutes down there,” said Johnson on the opportunity to get in playing time with Providence after nine months of no game action. “They’ve got a great group of guys with a great coach, so it was nice to be able to go down there and get my conditioning levels up a little.”
Johnson made the most of his time with Providence, contributing on the score sheet for the P-Bruins on Friday night (albeit in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Portland Pirates) by assisting on Ryan Spooner’s eight of the season.
The 6’1,” 204-pound defenseman is coming off career-high NHL numbers in 2011-12 as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets in both assists (13) and points (16) and was happy to set up a goal, but the Providence conditioning stint was not about Johnson finding an offensive aspect to his game – it was more about learning the Bruins system and getting his legs back under him.
“Anytime you can get points as defenseman it’s a bonus,” he said. “But I think it was more about going down there and getting used to the D-zone and making those plays that I haven’t made in a few months.”
“So it was nice to be out there and play positional hockey for the first time in a longtime.”
Now back with Boston, Johnson feels ready for whenever the moment comes that he can be inserted into the lineup – a moment that he has been looking forward to ever since signing a one-year, two-way contract with the B’s as a free agent in July. And one that has become even more apparent with the ease that he has transitioned into the Bruins’ locker room.
“Obviously, an easy group of guys to transition to, all likable guys and fun to play with and great skill,” said Johnson.
“So, it’s just a matter of going out there and trying to fit in.”
Since cracking the Blue Jackets’ roster in 2003-04, Johnson has suited up for five NHL clubs (Columbus, New York Islanders, Chicago, Calgary, Edmonton) and his consistent hard work has now landed him a spot with the Black & Gold.
While there is always an adjustment period joining a new team both off and on the ice – especially one as close-knit as the Bruins – Johnson’s defense-first approach to the game will help in settle into the B’s system.
“I’m more of a defense first kind of defenseman, he said. “I want to make sure I play well in our zone and contribute point-wise when I can.”
“Obviously, a physical guy and a hard worker and that’s kind of my style is to go out and work as hard as I can.”