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Johnson joins Lightning coaching staff

NHL.com @NHL
Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Brian Lawton has named Jim Johnson an assistant coach to Rick Tocchet.

Johnson replaces Wes Walz, who was relieved of his duties.

Johnson had been coach of the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Norfolk since Jan. 16, when he replaced Darren Rumble. Johnson first joined the Norfolk staff as associate coach in September 2009. After replacing Rumble, the Admirals 13-2-2 record in 17 games.

"Jim has done whatever the Lightning organization has asked of him and excelled in those roles, even as his responsibilities have increased, whether it be in player development, as an associate (coach) in Norfolk or in the head position for the Admirals," Lawton said. "And now we are excited about adding him to an already strong coaching staff as an assistant coach for the Lightning."

Under the tutelage of Johnson, the Admirals improved from 17-23-2 and seventh in the AHL's East Division to 30-25-4 and third place in the division. During his term as associate coach in Norfolk, Johnson was responsible for working with the team's defensemen and penalty-killing unit. The Admirals are ranked first in the league in penalty killing on the road (88.7 percent) and third overall (87.1 percent). The Lightning penalty kill is ranked 26th in the NHL on the road (77.3 percent) and 22nd overall (80.5 percent) this season.

Walz was given the option of replacing Johnson as coach in Norfolk, but instead will leave the organziation. Lawton made no mention of a new coach for the AHL team.

"We’d like to thank Wes for his dedication to the Lightning organization," Lawton said. "We wish him the best of luck moving forward in his future endeavors and are extremely thankful for his time with the club."

In 2008-09, Johnson was the Lightning's player development coach, working closely with the organization's top prospects. He also was instrumental in planning the team's conditioning, rookie and young guns camps.

Johnson was a defenseman with five teams in 13 NHL seasons, appearing in 829 games and notching 29 goals and 166 assists from 1985-98. He also represented the United States in international competition on seven occasions, including the 1991 Canada Cup.

The Lightning are ninth in the Eastern Conference, one point out of a playoff spot, with 21 games left.
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