When a player gets traded, sometimes they take it as a sign of being desired by someone else more. Sometimes they become distraught over “not being wanted” by the team they were playing for. Others see it as it all being just a business.
For new Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, he sees it as an opportunity to prove a point to his former team, the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis traded Johnson and Jay McClement to Colorado last week for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk, a deal that seemingly popped up seemingly out of nowhere.
For Johnson, while he’s happy with the chance to be the man in Colorado he really wants to be the guy that haunts the Blues for the rest of his career.
“I want to make them regret trading Erik Johnson,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that and I say that with the utmost respect in the world for them. I respect Doug Armstrong, I respect John Davidson, everybody I met here in this city.
“At the end of the day, I want them to be kicking themselves for trading me. … I definitely want (Armstrong) at the end of the day saying, ‘Why’d I trade Erik Johnson?’ Don’t get me wrong, they got two great players over there. (Kevin) Shattenkirk and (Chris) Stewart are great players. I know Shatty real well and Stewart gave us fits when I was with the Blues. At the end of the day, I want to make Doug Armstrong regret trading me.”
Speaking in first person style aside, Johnson getting motivated like this is a great thing for him. His years in St. Louis were, all told, relatively disappointing. He wasn’t a bust by any means, but when you’re the top pick in the NHL draft the way he was, expectations are a lot higher. Those expectations certainly weren’t met in St. Louis and when you give up on a guy as young as he is, you run the risk of making a mistake. The Blues figure that Alex Pietrangelo can help soften that blow on their blue line but if Johnson reaches his level of potential, they’re certain to rue the day they gave him up.
St. Louis certainly didn’t lose out a lot in getting Stewart and Shattenkirk, but getting a number one draft pick that plays to his ultimate potential, something he never truly did as a Blue, is something everyone will remember. That much, however, is up to Johnson to make it happen. That means no more reckless nonsense on the golf course during the off-season and dedicating himself to hockey even harder. He’s showed the talent at times to make it happen, doing it night in and night out is what he has to do now.