A list of reasons why the Stars made the right choice to keep Stephen Johns in a Victory Green sweater for three more seasons.
Last week, the Dallas Stars inked a 3-year deal with defenseman Stephen Johns. He has been a key figure on this roster for several seasons and continues to be an enforcer for the organization. Here are four reasons why that was a great move:
1. He is Young
The Pennsylvanian native is only 26-years-old, which is young compared to that of the average NHLer (27.1). He is a member of a relatively young Stars defense with Julius Honka (22), John Klingberg (25), Esa Lindell (24), Dillon Heatherington (23), and Miro Heiskanen (18).
Despite the abundance of young players, there are a few veterans. For example Dan Hamhuis (35) and Marc Methot (33). Hamhuis and Greg Pateryn (28) will both become unrestricted free agents this offseason, and will probably look to secure one to two-year deals with a team. Although Hamhuis and Pateryn might be on their way out of Dallas, Johns is young and will help lead Dallas’ defense next year.
2. He is Physical
Stephen led the Stars in hits (201) and blocked shots (155) this season. He is not afraid to use his stocky, 6’ 4”, 221-pound frame to shut down other opponents’ offenses.
“[I] learned how to play the game at the NHL level and play at a consistent level,” Johns said in an article for ESPN. Being able to find a young, tough, physical d-man for $2.35 million per year is a steal in the NHL.
“[Johns] plays a very fast, physical game and is just starting to hit the prime of his career.” GM Jim Nill said in an article for NHL.com. Johns, who was acquired in the 2015 trade that sent Patrick Sharp to Dallas, should have even better defensive numbers this year.
3. His Numbers Continue to Rise
In his third season in the NHL (and third with Dallas), Johns put up his best numbers yet, finishing with 15 points (8 G, 7 A) in 75 games. Below is a breakdown of some of his numbers as a member of the Dallas Stars. (Stats are according to Hockey Reference.)
- 2015-16: 14
- 2016-17: 61
- 2017-18: 75
- 2015-16: 1
- 2016-17: 4
- 2017-18: 8
- 2015-16: 2
- 2016-17: 6
- 2017-18: 7
- 2015-16: 3
- 2016-17: 10
- 2017-18: 15
- 2015-16: -6
- 2016-17: -10
- 2017-18: 10
- 2015-16: 6
- 2016-17: 36
- 2017-18: 41
Time on Ice:
- 2015-16: 250 (17:50 per game)
- 2016-17: 1114 (18:15 per game)
- 2017-18: 1316 (17:33 per game)
- 2015-16: 55
- 2016-17: 159
- 2017-18: 201
- 2015-16: 21
- 2016-17: 130
- 2017-18: 155
4. He can Drop the Gloves
Not only are the Dallas Stars the heaviest team in average pounds per player (207.1), there are several guys who can drop the mitts, Stephen being no exception. Dallas is also the third tallest team, with an average of 73.8 inches.
Johns helps boost both categories and can pack the meat fists. Dallas does have a flurry of guys who can hold their own, including but not limited to Jamie Benn, Brett Ritchie, Antoine Roussel, Remi Elie, Gemel Smith, Methot, Pateryn, and of course, Johns.
Evidently, Stephen is more than physically capable to stick up for his teammates, show his physical prowess, and send a clear message to the Dallas Stars opponents; he is not messing around.
With all that said, look for Stephen Johns to have another career year this season with the Stars. Between his size, physical style of play, and stats, it is clear that he makes a big impact.