When the media talks to Erik Johnson these days, the subject of his contract situation naturally comes up. He just hopes there’s a reason for that narrative to be dropped soon “so it’s not a distraction,” per the Denver Post.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy recently revealed that the Avalanche are negotiating with Johnson, who is entering the final season of his four-year, $15 million contract. Roy felt the talks were going well, but despite Johnson’s desire for this to be over with, it’s not at the point yet where he can say anything definitive.
“It’s my desire to stay here,” Johnson told the Denver Post, “but it has to work for both sides and I’m all for working with the team and trying to fit into the structure. I’m not out to get something over my value on the market. I’m going to work with them and I hope they work with me and we can get something done.”
Finding fair value for Johnson isn’t a simple task because he’s both shown an ability to be a great defenseman, but also has a rocky past and lengthy injury history. His last game was on Jan. 21 due to a knee injury, although he feels good now.
Even factoring in his setbacks, it’s hard to see Johnson as getting anything other than a substantial raise over his current $3.75 million annual cap hit. The 2006 first overall pick has led the Avalanche in playing time per game in each of the last two campaigns with him reaching an average of 24:25 minutes last season. He also has 62 points in 127 games over the last two campaigns.