Monday, May 12, 2008

2007-08 Rink Wrap: Brent Johnson

From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every player* who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Brent Johnson.

Contract Status: 2008-09 salary of $825,000 ($812,500 cap hit); UFA following 2008-09 season
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 31
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 7
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 19 games played, 7-8-2 record, 0 shutouts, 2.68 GAA, .908 SV%
Key Stat: Take away his second start of the season and Johnson had a 2.41 GAA and .913 SV%.
Ironic Foreshadowing Stat: Johnson became the first goalie other than Olie Kolzig to start a season opener for the Caps since Craig Billington in 2000.

The Good: Johnson recovered from a rough start to the season to end the year giving up more than three goals in just one of his final dozen appearances, a span that included a three-game winning streak (and a tough loss to the Flyers) in January and a couple of bad beats (by Carolina and Jersey) in February. He was 6-4-1 with a 2.38 GAA and .917 SV% under Bruce Boudreau and had a 4-3-1 overall record with a 2.18 GAA and .919 SV% against Southeast Division opponents. His .908 save percentage was the second best of his career, and he posted a 1.97 GAA and a .927 SV% at the Verizon Center.

The Bad: Johnson had a six-game winless streak (pre-Boudreau) during which he had a 3.61 GAA and a .878 SV%, and in five of his 17 appearances he had a GAA of 4.00 or higher (which is something to keep in mind if he ends up as the number two goaltender behind a guy who has never played more than 52 games in a season). Johnson had a 4-5-1 record with a 3.11 GAA and .897 SV% on the road and ended the season (early, of course) on an overall 1-3-1 slide.

The Vote: Rate Johnson on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

The Questions: What's the maximum number of games you'd be comfortable seeing Johnson start for the 2008-09 Caps? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?

If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.

* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.

26 comments:

Tyler said...

I think it's fair to say that most NHL teams would like 60ish games from their No. 1. If the Caps are able to re-sign Huet, I'd say 60 is about the best-case scenario: Huet has played more than 42 NHL games only once in his career.

Would I be comfy with Johnson in net 20ish times a year? Yes, though I'd certainly hope for more consistency. At least he's only $825K.

FAUX RUMORS said...

1) As with most non-Ovechkin Caps, there's the pre and post Gabby numbers to look at. We'd say throw out the Hanlon numbers as the rest of the team was as bad.
2) After Thanksgiving, and especially after the New Year, 'Johnny' played as well as one could have expected of a team's 'backup'. Admirably he was very quiet after the Huet pickup which made him the 3rd goalie, and a non-entity. GMGM/Boudreau should feel comfortable having him back up 20-25 games next season.

Paul Nichols said...

I figure he's good for 20-25 also. I thought he played very well after Boudreau took control.

JP said...

But I thought Boudreau didn't "understand" goaltending - how could Johnny have possibly benefited from the coaching change? ;)

exwhaler said...

After the Huet trade, the guy I really felt sorry for was Johnson, who did nothing to deserve to be regulated to the press box for the rest of the season. At least Kolzig had the opportunity to keep his job.

Johnson, in my opinion, is one of the better back-ups in the league and arguably the best value at his position. That said, I really hope that the Caps manage to sign Huet (or, if not, Dan Ellis), because I don't think Johnson is capable of shouldering a starter's load.

~Mark said...

In all sincerity, I'd only like to see Johnny start 10 to 15 games a season, which may be too few if you assume Huet, uh, I mean, the starter will have to start the rest.
In that model, you might try to get Cheese, Shipsman, or Bjork up here for a few as well, to give them a taste. But all of this is May rhetoric. So much can change by October.

Tyler said...

Cheese, Shipsman and Bjork? Is that a Euro-Scandanavian legal firm? Does Bjork wear a swan in lieu of goalie pads? What are you talking about?!

exwhaler said...

"Cheese" is Machesney's nickname, while Shipsman is the offical boards' "replacement" name for Varlamov. Not sure about Bjork, which I assume is Neuvirth.

Tyler said...

Oh good lord.

breed16 said...

My poll doohickey - no pun intended - isn't showing up on my computer. What numbers is Johnny putting up? I gave him a 9. Played about as well as I expected. If he can stay around .905 with the save percentage, there's no reason he can't play 20-30 games.

Goal Plan A: Huet 60 games, Johnny 22.

Goalie Plan B: ROBERT "back from the dead" ESCHE 50 games, Johnny 32.

JP said...

That's really weird - where the hell did the poll go?

Until it reappears, you can access it here.

And I gave Johnny a 7 - a little better than I had expected, but he could have been more consistent and actually won a few more games (I've heard that winning - and not having good numbers - is all that really matters).

Anonymous said...

hey JP that's 2 snarky comments directed at Olie in both your comments here - why all the "hate?"
Guess you're ready to see him go.

Tyler said...

I didn't read any hate, just saw an eyebrow (properly) raised.

Anonymous said...

well now that's clarifying it quite nicely. well put.

JP said...

@ Anon: I'm emotionally immature and can only deal with the pain of this break up by trying to convince myself via belittling the player that it's really not much of a loss.

Ask any ex of mine - they'll confirm that it's my M.O.

Brian said...

I gave Johnny an 8, but my vote is tainted by the fact I used to watch him regularly when he was with the Blues. My early season expectations were not that great and by the Blues' standards, Johnny was much more consistent.

Anonymous said...

ha ha, even BETTER put JP!

usiel said...

Gave him a five. He seems to be a pretty good backup goalie at least for this next season. I would hope the season after next that either Neuvirth or Varlamov had some great pro first seasons and one of them could be the backup at that time.

Ogre said...

What's funny is I thought that JP was taking a shot at me and Haz, and not Olie, so I feel kind of sad.

I gave him a six because he dissappeared near the stretch, which, in fairness, was out of his control. For a 10, I'd have expected starting stats (50+ starts)

I'm going on a limb and saying the Caps re-sign Huet, cause if they don't, I'm going to be one sad Whiter Mage. I'd want Huet in 52-55 games, as I'd want Johnny in 27-30 games. I think Johnny can handle the load, and then we don't get Huet too tired.

Exwhaler, I think myself (and most Caps fans) are worried about one year wonders like Ellis. I dunno when you jumped the Whale to come here, but we used to have a kid named Jim Carey. I think Ellis will be a lot like him in the long run, sir.

pplc said...

Refresh my memory - whatever happened to Jim Carey? Did he go all loco?

JP said...

He went all crap-o.

My favorite Carey nugget (to bring things somewhat full circle) is that when the Caps and B's were working out the Oates et. al. trade, Boston wanted (and obviously got) Carey in the package instead of Kolzig. Awesome.

Tyler said...

While we're watching goalies, we should keep an eye on what happens between the Avs and Jose Theodore. There are some signs that they're going to go young next year, perhaps sans Sakic, Forsberg, Brunette, Foote and Theodore. Helllllo Peter Budaj?

breed16 said...

As his Portland Pirates mask indicated, Carey never grew out of his AHL abilities. He will always be the second-best Canadian Jim Carey. (I know, different spelling. Still.)

exwhaler said...

I jumped the Whale when the Whale became a Toilet Flush.

I suggested Ellis because he seems to me to be the best option in an extremely thin free agent market. Theodore worries me given his up-and-down career, and that he might try to get far too much for his worth because of that thin market. Emery's got locker room problems that McPhee will (and should) shy away from. And then there's Ty Conklin...

I understand the Jim Carey reference, but I think you can't expect every goalie that surprises to be a one-year wonder. Yeah, it's taking a chance, but with this position, you're always going to be taking chances, even with Huet.

Kim said...

Not sure exactly what to say about Brent. I think that he did his job well this year. Would have liked to see more consistency, but he also was sidelined at a point when I thought he was gaining steam.

The whole Olie thing has me a little worried. It seems like Brent and Olie were close. That could be good, or it could be bad. I am a little concerned how Brent feels about management, etc. and hope he has not lost some of his focus and drive. If he has not, I see him as an incredible back-up and great locker room guy.

Truth be told, I think Brent is one of the coolest guys on the team. He would be great to hang out with and have a beer (or if I had to a glass of wine). I think that will serve him and the team well in the locker room. There will be a lot of pressure on the Caps next season and a guy with a good sense of humor and good sense of himself will be helpful.

I would like to see him playing 20 or so games and being that back-up goalie that makes the team seamless. In other words, Brent will be the guy that the other teams have to prepare as if they are playing our #1 goalie.

Ogre said...

There's not really a goalie out there I'd be more comfortable with than Huet (I mean, FA wise. Theodore is crap, Conklin is a journeyman terrible, ehhhhhhhh. I'm scared about Ellis, though he is a good story.)

Meh.