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Blackhawks sign Jack Johnson to one-year contract

Another veteran defenseman is being added to the mix.

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Some late breaking news came down on Tuesday evening.

According to reports from Peter Baugh and Scott Powers of The Athletic, the Chicago Blackhawks will be signing veteran defenseman Jack Johnson to a one-year contract.

A few minutes after that initial report, Charlie Roumeliotis from NBC Sports Chicago chimed in with the salary cap figure:

In a tweet on Wednesday morning, the Blackhawks confirmed the signing and the reported salary cap hit:

Johnson, 35, is coming off a bit of a storybook season after joining the Colorado Avalanche for the 2021-22 season and ending it with the first Stanley Cup of his lengthy NHL career.

Considering all of the things Johnson had endured away from the ice, it shouldn’t have been all that difficult to locate some measure of relief to see Johnson get his moment with the Stanley Cup.

A veteran of 1.024 NHL games across 16 seasons, Johnson initially came to the NHL as the No. 3 overall pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2005 NHL Draft. But the Indianapolis native was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 2006 and debuted with the Kings in the 2007-08 season. He’s also played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers before spending last season with the Avalanche.

By virtually any measure, Johnson’s play has been subpar in the last few seasons, though. For one of those measures, here’s his player card from @JFreshHockey on Twitter:

Johnson’s signing is obviously a placeholder for the next season and his hockey future — if there is one beyond 2022-23 for Johnson — won’t be in Chicago. But add yet another veteran blue-liner to a D corps that already has Seth Jones, Jake McCabe, Riley Stillman, Caleb Jones and Connor Murphy in it for next season and it’s hard to see where any of the Blackhawks’ younger defensemen fit at the NHL level.

So the Blackhawks’ core of D prospects who have some gained some NHL experience in the last few seasons — Alex Vlasic, Alec Regula, Ian Mitchell, Isaak Phillips, Jakub Galvas, Nicolas Beaudin, etc. — should probably expect to spend a healthy chunk of the next hockey season in Rockford because there doesn’t appear to be much room for them in Chicago.