One of the NHL's most overlooked individual performances in 2015-16 was turned in by goaltender Chad Johnson.
The Buffalo Sabres dealt with injury issues last season and Johnson was quick to take advantage of the opportunity he was given. The 30-year-old appeared in 45 games and pieced together a 22-16-4 record with a club had its struggles in 2015-16, ending up 14th in the Eastern Conference when all was said and done. Johnson posted a 2.36 GAA and .920 save percentage, making 1168 saves on the 1270 shots he faced.
In total, Johnson has now played in 101 NHL games with a 50-30-11 record, 2.39 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
The Flames, needing someone to spell off Brian Elliott, saw great potential in the netminder and inked him to a one-year deal on July 1.
"I think we’ve strengthened the position," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said after the signing. "It was a priority for us."
Calgary's issues in net last season are well-documented. The team allowed a league-high 257 goals and the worst combined save percentage at .892. Now, with a complete reset in the blue paint, Johnson sees great potential in the Flames' new net tandem. He is confident in he and Elliott have the ability to stabilize the position.
"I think having a good relationship is huge and we will push each other to make each other better and push for playing time and that will hopefully make the team better as well," Johnson told CalgaryFlames.com. "I think our styles are very similar. He’s a very positional goalie, very technical and I’m the same way.
"I think there’s a lot of things that will bring stability to the goaltending this year. I didn’t watch a lot of games but I know there were maybe issues at times early on but I think with our style we are going to be able to bring some stability and some consistency on a daily basis and make the saves that we’re supposed and maybe some that we shouldn’t so I think it will be good."
A bonus for Johnson is the hometown factor. He grew up in Calgary, cheering for the Flames, and has yearned to be a part of the organization.
"Two years ago when I was a free agent I wanted to be with the team but it just wasn’t the right fit at the time so when free agency opened up this year, it was one of those things where I wanted to be a part of the team. The motivation, I don’t think, can be higher when you have the opportunity to go to your hometown and your home city. It’s just exciting.
"It’s been a whirlwind so I’m just happy to be able to be a part of the team and to get the team back into the playoffs and hunt for the Stanley Cup."