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Blues sign Johnson, top overall pick of 2006 @NHL

ST. LOUIS (AP) -Defenseman Erik Johnson, the first overall pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, signed with the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

The 19-year-old Johnson decided to go pro after his freshman season at Minnesota, where he totaled four goals and 20 assists in 41 games. He turned down a chance to join the Blues for the final few regular-season games after Minnesota fell one game short of the NCAA Frozen Four in St. Louis, but changed his mind a few weeks later.

The Blues envision Johnson as one of their top six defensemen next season.

"We are very excited about Erik's decision to join our club next season," team president John Davidson said. "We wanted to give Erik the proper time to make the best decision for himself and his family."

Johnson will play for Team USA at the World Championships from April 27-May 13 in Moscow. He played for the United State in the 2007 World Junior Championships, had four goals and six assists in 10 games and was selected the top defenseman of the tournament.

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