Blackhawks sign defenseman Jack Johnson to 1-year contract

Adding the 35-year-old journeyman makes it even clearer the Hawks don’t plan to promote many prospects to the NHL this season.

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Jack Johnson signed with the Blackhawks after spending last season on the Avalanche.

Jack Johnson signed with the Blackhawks after spending last season on the Avalanche.

David Zalubowski/AP

Five players with the surname of Johnson played in the NHL last season. Three of them are now on the Blackhawks.

The Hawks signed veteran defenseman Jack Johnson to a one-year contract with a $950,000 salary-cap hit Wednesday. The 35-year-old Indiana native will join forwards Tyler and Reese Johnson on the 2022-23 roster.

It’ll be Johnson’s 17th season in the league, having passed the 1,000-game milestone and earned his first Stanley Cup ring last season with the Avalanche. He had nine points in 74 regular-season appearances — scoring one goal, coincidentally in the season opener against the Hawks — and zero points in 13 playoff appearances.

But his play has declined significantly since his heyday with the Kings and Blue Jackets, and he’s basically a depth player at this point — although he certainly will have an easier path to playing time in Chicago than he did in Colorado.

His even-strength scoring-chance ratio has been below 50% in 15 of his 16 seasons, and, at 48.3%, he was one of only four Avs regulars to finish below 50% last season.

“Jack provides the team with a strong veteran presence, good size and a competitive edge,” general manager Kyle Davidson said in a statement. “We’re excited to have Jack join the organization, and, coming off a Stanley Cup championship last year, he will strengthen our defensive group.”

The Hawks have 14 forwards and six defensemen on one-way contracts, with Johnson added to Seth Jones, Connor Murphy, Jake McCabe, Riley Stillman and Caleb Jones in the latter group.

It’s becoming increasingly clear the Hawks won’t have many prospects in their lineups this season.

Davidson is designing the team that way intentionally, believing their prospects will develop better while dominating in the AHL rather than struggling on a tanking NHL team.

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