Since I frothed at the mouth in typeface yesterday, I’ve seen a general trend: Kings’ fans are happy with this deal. As someone who was pronouncedly pissed off when I learned of that deal, let me send a shocker your way. They should be. The Kings are likely a better team now than they were 48 hours ago. I say likely because they were also supposed to be a better team 4 months ago than they were 14 months ago. Things don’t always work out they way they should.
What pisses me off more than the deal itself ever could, is the reason why people are over the moon with the trade and utterly perplexed and/or holier-than-thou-ly annoyed that others are not. I don’t see many people saying “Jeff Carter rules!” Jeff Carter does rule, and I’m happy to talk about that, but what I mostly see is “Jack Johnson sucks”
I’ve never seen so much use of Corsi stats. You know, those things that are more complicated than the tax code? The same stats that when looked at on the face value they are used to assess Jack Johnson’s poor play simultaneously purport that Peter Harrold is a damn good NHL defensemen. This article has been linked to me about 12 different times. In it you will see a bunch of boxes with the name “Johnson” appearing at the bottom. His name at the bottom apparently means he is a terrible hockey player. You will then see, in the those same boxes, that Peter Harrold is at the top of many of them as well.
In the same categories that I am being told with such fervor that me thinking Jack Johnson is a good player is merely a figment of my imagination, Peter Harrold is excelling, yet nobody is telling me how lucky the Kings were to have him. In a category that supposedly tells me how much I should think of a player offensively, Johnson is again at the bottom, a fact lauded over heads like rats in the kitchen by the health inspector. Yet this same chart tells me that the Kings are just as well off offensively with Matt Greene on the ice as they are Drew Doughty.
Then there is this article, which at least admits that Johnson has tons of potential, but then goes on to essentially try and make the point that Wade Belak, Jason Strudwick, Ryan Parent, Oskars Bartulis, Deryk Engelland, and Brendan Mikkelson are the only defensemen in the NHL who are worse than Jack. At least when I go overboard I admit I am doing either to be funny or because I’m reacting emotionally. These stats are emotions masquerading as objectivity. No wonder these people don’t care about Lombardi’s integrity, they have none with regards to their own thoughts. Objectivity doesn’t lead one to believe Jack Johnson is the 7th worst defenseman in the league. Yet that’s what I’m reading, while simultaneously being told I’m crazy.
This is a fun quote:
he would have to improve a lot just to be considered mediocre
Jack Johnson has a long way to go before being considered mediocre. That’s a damning statement. No wonder people think I’m out of my head for being the least bit upset at this trade. They think Peter Harrold is a better defensemen than Jack Johnson.
It’s no mystery that I am not a big fan of stats. It should be an equally negligible mystery that defensemen take a long time to develop. I read sentiments that purport Jack Johnson is still making the same mistakes today that he was making his rookie year. Nonsense. Jack, though still prone to neurological flatulence, has improved his defensive reads every year. He must be pretty terrible to be playing big minutes (22.5 per game to be exact) on the best defensive team in the league. It all adds up. We knew Columbus GM Scott Howson was a moron, so of course he must have been ripped off in a big way by accepting the abysmal Jack Johnson in return for the illustrious Jeff Carter.
Remember how well Jack played when he was the top dog in LA while Doughty was out? That’s the player Columbus is getting. I expect Jack to shine now that he is without question the top defenseman on a team.
Jack Johnson’s ceiling is about as high as high gets for a defenseman. It always has been and it still is. At 25 years old, he is about 2-3 years away, which would put him in the middle of his deal, from hitting the prime of a defenseman’s career. If and when Jack flips that switch in a year or two, when he just ‘gets it’, like Chris Pronger and so many have before him, then this deal doesn’t look so one-sided.
Circling back to Jeff Carter, I do think the Kings are better this moment than they were before the trade. Right now Carter brings what we need, duh, and Voynov has shown to be capable of replacing Johnson’s minutes. For now. I will not say that Slava’s ceiling is as high as Johnson’s, I don’t know. I do not know if Slava will get better or worse or even maintain his play this season to the next. I hope he does but I can’t proclaim to know. I do know that Johnson has improved every year.
So I leave this day behind feeling less hostile towards the Kings than I began it. I find myself disappointed how many King fans are so eager to trash Johnson. But then again, many people have been dogging him for a long time, so I suppose high marks for consistency are in order. What I hope to see more of as the dust settles, which it won’t for several weeks – not until we’ve seen one hot streak and one cold streak from Carter, smoothing out the vitriol and adoration with which he is being seen – are Kings fans appreciating the player that left them as much as they do the one they acquired. I smirk to be called an idiot by people who equate being upset with losing Johnson to thinking that Carter doesn’t help the Kings.
Jeff Carter stands to put the Kings in a good position to improve what ails them. His shot is what this team lacks. I know this dude can score and I know he will do his fair share of it in the crown. I know this and I don’t need to belittle Jack Mother Fucking Johnson to know it.