Through his first five NHL stops, from Manhattan to Glendale, Ariz., Boston to Long Island and Buffalo, there had always been one place Johnson dreamed of playing: in the city he considered home, Calgary, wearing a Flames jersey.
Selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fifth round (No. 125) of the 2006 NHL Draft, following his freshman year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Johnson didn't appear in a game in the Pittsburgh organization, playing four college seasons instead. As a senior in 2008-09, he had a 1.66 goals-against average and .940 save percentage. He was named a Hobey Baker Award finalist and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Player of the Year that season.