Jack Johnson was brought in to help the Rangers penalty kill and so far it isn’t working out

When the Rangers signed Jack Johnson to a 1 year deal this offseason for $1.15 million, I assumed it was as an insurance policy. The deal made sense in that capacity. The team also had many questions on the left side defense this offseason.

What if Tony DeAngelo can’t transition to the left-side? The experiment never got off the ground. Ok, signing Johnson seems wise so far.

What if Libor Hajek can’t earn a spot in the top six? He didn’t, so another plus in the signing Johnson column.

What if K’Andre Miller isn’t ready? He is, and getting better every shift. Ok, so Johnson is insurance and a 7th defenseman.

What if they trade Brendan Smith? He’s still here, and looked good in both games. Now the head scratching has begun.

The Rangers did say that they wanted to improve the PK from last season. That’s why they brought in Jacques Martin and he help lobby for Johnson. So how is that going? Let’s dive in.

Inside the numbers for Jack Johnson

jack johnson rangers
Jack Johnson on defense (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

In three games, Jack Johnson is a -2 in 16:49 of ice time. Now that isn’t a fair assessment. There’s many things that can happen on the ice that may have nothing to do with the 34 year-old rearguard.

How about those advanced statistics? You know, the ones that tell a story your eyes don’t always see. Johnson’s CF% (shot attempts for/against) is dead last on the Blueshirts defense at 46.4%. Not terrible, but certainly not helping the Rangers in the possession game.

Tony DeAngelo, who was scratched for “discipline reasons” has a CF% of 58.8%. And he played in the Rangers 4-0 loss to the Islanders in game one. Even rookie, K’Andre Miller has a CF% of 51.5%. Pretty impressive for the young man.

Ok, so Jack Johnson wasn’t brought in to drive possession 5v5, he was brought in to improve the PK. Well, after three games the Rangers are a hair below the league average on it.

The other NHL teams are killing at a rate of 78.83%, while the Rangers are at 78.57%. Last night, the Rangers gave the Devils only two PP’s but they scored on one and it was Jack Johnson who was behind his check when it was tapped home. You can clearly see that Johnson left Miles Wood alone at the post for the easy goal. To add insult to injury, that turned out to be the game-winner.

On the season, New York has killed 11 of 14 opposition power play chances. Jack Johnson has been on the ice for two of the three goals against. Yes, it is early and he’s not the only player responsible for the goals scored. It’s just when you are brought in to help the PK, this isn’t a exactly going to quiet the detractors.

It’s only been three games, and the coaches see things we may not during the game. There is also the locker-room presence that none of us are privy too. However, if Johnson doesn’t help on the PK when he’s on the ice it’s going to be a problem. Johnson playing in favor of players like Tony DeAngelo, Brendan Smith, or Libor Hajek while the PK struggles is going to draw the ire of fans. And when it does they’ll be calling for more than just taking Jack out of the lineup.

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