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REPORT: Avalanche ‘Likely’ Will Not Re-Sign Erik Johnson



Avalanche Erik Johnson nhl

It sounds as though the longest tenured player on the Colorado Avalanche will be playing for a new team next season.

According to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, the Avalanche are unlikely to re-sign 35 year old defenseman Erik Johnson, meaning he will hit the free agent market in a little over a week.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Johnson wants to continue playing in the NHL, even if it’s not with the Avalanche. The 35 year old defenseman has battled numerous injuries throughout his career, but is just 80 games away from hitting 1,000 career games played in the NHL. That’s a big accomplishment for any player, and one Johnson would likely want to hit.

Johnson was acquired by the Avalanche way back on Feb. 19, 2011, in exchange for Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart, and a conditional second round pick. The Avalanche also received Jay McClement and a first round selection. Since then, he’s been a staple on Colorado’s blueline, and one of the faces of the franchise. When the team struggled in 2016/17, he was very vocal about wanting to stick around and see things through, as opposed to being traded during a rebuild.

He was not traded, and that loyalty paid off, as the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2022. In the locker room, he’s one of the best interviews on the team, as he always gives you detailed, thought out answers, as opposed to the standard clichés.

Losing Johnson means the Avalanche will be losing some size on the back-end, but also a big part of their leadership group in the locker room. With Gabriel Landeskog expected to miss all of 2023/24, other players will now have to take on bigger leadership roles. After the loss to Seattle, Johnson was very emotional about the thought of it being his last game in Colorado.

Colorado will now need to fill that defensive spot either through free agency, trade, or internally.

If Johnson does indeed leave via free agency, Landeskog then becomes the longest tenured player on the team.

Stay tuned to CHN as more information trickles through in the coming weeks.

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