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KINGS SIGN TOP DEFENSIVE PROSPECT JACK JOHNSON

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to terms on a multi-year entry level contract with defenseman Jack Johnson, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced Tuesday. Johnson is expected to join the Kings for practice on Wednesday at Noon at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo and will be available to play on Thursday, March 29, when the Kings face the Vancouver Canucks at 7:30 p.m. at STAPLES Center.


Johnson, 20, is a 6-1, 215-pound native of Indianapolis who was the third overall selection (behind Sidney Crosby and Bobby Ryan) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Originally drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes, he was acquired by the Kings along with defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky in exchange for center Eric Belanger and defenseman Tim Gleason on September 29, 2006. Johnson is one of eight current Kings to have been selected in the first-round and he is one of eight Kings currently 24 years of age or younger. Johnson most recently completed his sophomore season at the University of Michigan where he helped lead the Wolverines to the NCAA West Hockey Regional semifinals while recording 39 points (16-23=39) and 87 penalty minutes in 36 games.

Throughout the 2006-07 season, Johnson earned numerous awards and achievements. He was named the CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman; selected to the All-CCHA First Team (he received 10 first-place votes, the most of any player on the ballot); ranked first in goals (16) and points-per-game (1.08), and was tied for second in overall points (39) among all college defensemen. In CCHA play he led all defensemen in goals (12) and points (25), and tied for sixth in plus/minus (plus-14).

A three-time CCHA Defenseman of the Week winner, Johnson set career highs with his 39 points, 23 assists, 16 goals and 10 multi-point games. His 16 goals were the second-highest single-season goal total by a U-M defenseman and a sophomore defenseman record while his plus-26 rating ranked second on U-M. His 87 penalty minutes were a team-high, he tied for fourth on U-M with four power play goals, he tied for second on U-M with two short-handed goals and he recorded his first career hat trick on January 26 versus Ferris State.

During his sophomore season at Michigan, Johnson also played for Team USA at the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship tournament in Sweden and earned a bronze medal. At the tournament, Johnson played in seven games and had three points (all goals), which tied for the team lead. He was also one of three Kings prospects -- Trevor Lewis (center) and Jeff Zatkoff (goaltender) were the others – who played for the United States as the Kings had the most players named to the squad of any other NHL club.

During his first season at Michigan (2005-06), he set a freshman record for scoring as a blueliner with the Wolverines with 32 points (10-22=32) in 38 games. A finalist for the CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman award and a member of the CCHA All-Rookie Team, Johnson also had five power play goals and two game-winning goals while finishing with 149 penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating. Prior to playing at Michigan, Johnson played at renowned Shattuck-St. Mary's prep school in Faribault, Minnesota.

Johnson's participation in the 2007 World Juniors was not the first international experience of his young career. He was an All-Star selection at the 2006 World Junior Championship where his six points (1-5=6) in seven games helped the U.S. to a fourth place finish. In addition, Johnson has earned gold medals with Team USA at the 2005 World Under-18 Championship, the 2005 Five Nations Tournament (U.S. Under-18 Team) and the 2004 Compuware Four Nations Cup (U.S. Under-18 Team).

With the Kings, Johnson will wear No. 33.

The Kings are scheduled to play in San Jose tonight, Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on FSN Prime Ticket, KTLK AM 1150 and along the Kings Radio Network.
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