Johnson thrilled to be back with Avs, MacKinnon and Rantanen also excited
Going from one of the worst teams in the NHL to one of the best at the trade deadline would be great for any player.
For defenseman Jack Johnson, he couldn’t contain his excitement on Monday. The Avalanche traded for their old friend from the Blackhawks on Sunday night, and Johnson was at morning skate fewer than 24 hours later. He won the Stanley Cup with the Avs back in June. After practice, he was a popular man for the media to chat with.
“Oh I mean, I’m excited. I woke up this morning and I couldn’t believe it, you know? Really excited to get going and play with these guys again,” Johnson said, via 9NEWS. “(It’s) an opportunity to come back and I’m thrilled about it.”
Johnson worked his way onto the Avs last season, joining Colorado’s training camp as a tryout player. He would play in 74 regular-season games, notching nine points. Then in the playoffs, Johnson played in 13 games, filling in after defenseman Samuel Girard broke his collarbone in St. Louis.
“I’m just trying to be a piece again like last year and just help out as much as I can and help this team get to the ultimate prize again. Just try to be consistent every night, come in with the right amount of enthusiasm that’s necessary to succeed in this league every day,” Johnson said.
The veteran mentioned the feeling of winning the whole thing is one you want to re-live.
“Once you win and experience it, it’s such an unbelievable feeling, all you want to do is do it again. There’s no doubt this team has their sights set on that,” Johnson said.
The Avalanche sent Andreas Englund back to the Blackhawks in the deal. Some of Colorado’s best players were sorry to see him go, but know they’re gaining a veteran in Johnson they just won a championship with eight months ago.
“I was happy, yeah. Obviously ‘Engy’ was a good player for us and I wish him all the best in Chicago. But it’s nice to see (Johnson) back too. He was a big part of our team last year in the playoffs. He stepped up when we needed him and played really good hockey, so I’m happy to see him back,” Avs winger Mikko Rantanen said.
Superstar center Nathan Mackinnon echoed similar thoughts.
“Yeah, definitely. He was a big part of that win, played a ton in the playoffs, big minutes. And yeah it was great that we played Chicago the first game, and I’m sure he’s happy to be back here and hopefully play some playoff hockey,” MacKinnon said.
MacKinnon is referring to when the Avs raised their championship banner and Johnson was in the building for the season opener, but donning a Blackhawks sweater. Now he’s back in Burgundy, as they try to do it all over again.