|Stephen Johns (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
The big news for Texas Stars fans in all of this is the second half of the trade return: defenseman Stephen Johns. Sharp and Johns joined the organization with Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt heading to the Windy City. If you'll remember, Stephen Johns played a great series against the Texas Stars in the first round of the playoffs, scoring the OT winner to eliminate Texas.
Even before that, the Stars media contingent had recognized that Johns was a special player. Sean Shapiro and I selected Johns for our all-rookie ballot. As explained here, Sean wrote why:
According to the league, Stephen Johns isn’t even the best rookie defenseman on his team. That would go to Ville Pokka (no, he’s not a bond villain working with Magnus Hellberg), who led all rookie defenseman with 30 points (8 goals, 22 assists).
We, of course, would disagree.
As an overall player, we were more impressed with Johns in both games at the Cedar Park Center. He also happens to lead the AHL in plus/minus at plus-27, no other rookie is in the top-15.
Johns also has 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists) in 45 games.
Johns had a goal and two assist in the three games against Texas. He played physically and is only a second-year AHLer this coming season. The addition of Johns does a lot to bolster a shaky defensive group in terms of experience, physicality and defensive defensemen. Here's a look at the current seven in Cedar Park now that Johns has been added (no logic to these pairings, just listing all seven):
Folks have been pointing to Lindell and Honka as potential injury callups or 'cup of coffee' callups this year for Dallas. You can add Johns to that list now as well. I think you could put Johns in the mold of what Patrik Nemeth did for the Stars. Munch heavy minutes in tough situations and play really great PK for the squad. That was a gap on the roster until last night.