Erik Johnson

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Erik Johnson
Erik Johnson - Colorado Avalanche.jpg
Johnson with the Avalanche in 2014
Born (1988-03-21) March 21, 1988 (age 31)
Bloomington, Minnesota, U.S.
Height 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight 231 lb (105 kg; 16 st 7 lb)
Position Defense
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Colorado Avalanche
St. Louis Blues
National team  United States
NHL Draft 1st overall, 2006
St. Louis Blues
Playing career 2007–present

Erik Robert Johnson (born March 21, 1988) is an American ice hockey defenseman currently playing and serving as an alternate captain for the Colorado Avalanche in the National Hockey League (NHL). Nicknamed The Condor, Johnson formerly played for the St. Louis Blues, with whom he began his NHL career. Additionally, he has represented the United States in numerous tournaments.

Johnson, the first overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, was drafted by the Blues from USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and played one season at the University of Minnesota before joining the NHL with St. Louis in 2007–08.

Playing career[edit]


Johnson played hockey for the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minnesota, where he starred in his two seasons as a freshman and sophomore at the prep school. In the 2003–04 season he led all defenseman in scoring with 13 goals and 34 points to be selected to the Missota All-Conference Team. As a 16-year old Johnson transferred to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to play for the National Team Development Program (NTDP).

In the 2004–05 season, he split time between the U.S. National under-17 and under-18 squads, compiling 26 points in 57 games, tops amongst defenseman. Having been scouted as being tailored to suit the professional ranks with his hybrid two-way style and physicality, Johnson continued his rise in development the following season with a team-leading 49 points in 47 games with the under-18's.[1] While also having a major impact at the junior international stage, Johnson was selected first overall in the 2006 NHL Entry draft by the St. Louis Blues. He became the first American-born defenseman to be selected first overall without having played Canadian major junior or collegiate hockey. He joined a select group of five (now eight following Patrick Kane, Auston Matthews, and Jack Hughes) Americans to have been chosen first overall in an NHL Entry Draft, along with Rick DiPietro (2000), Bryan Berard (1995), Mike Modano (1988), and Brian Lawton (1983).[2]

Having committed to the University of Minnesota, Johnson also became the first Golden Gopher and Minnesotan to be taken first overall. Despite the willingness to turn professional, Johnson was not signed to a professional contract with the Blues, becoming the first player in 44 years to play college hockey after being selected No.1 overall.[3] In his freshman campaign with the Golden Gophers during the 2006–07 season, Johnson quickly established a top defensive role and accumulated 4 goals and 24 points in 41 contests to lead all WCHA rookie defenseman and earn a selection to the WCHA All-Rookie Team. Johnson concluded his collegiate career after his freshman year when he was signed by the St. Louis Blues to a three-year, entry-level contract on April 20, 2007.[4]


St. Louis Blues[edit]

Johnson scored his first career NHL goal against Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier on October 6, 2007. It was also the game-winning goal.[5] He finished his rookie season averaging over 18 minutes of ice-time per game to go with 5 goals and 28 assists in 69 games.

On September 16, 2008, during a team golf outing, Johnson tore two ligaments in his right knee after getting his foot stuck between the accelerator and brake pedals of a golf cart.[6] Johnson was forced to have surgery to repair the torn ligaments, and missed the entire 2008-09 season as a result.[7] After returning for the 2009-10 season, Johnson set new career-highs with 10 goals, 29 assists, and 39 points, as well as 79 penalty minutes. He also represented Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics where he earned a silver medal,

On August 2, 2010, as a restricted free agent, Johnson re-signed with the Blues with a two-year, $5.2 million contract.[8]

Colorado Avalanche[edit]

Johnson (right foreground) playing his second game with the Avalanche, facing his former team, the St. Louis Blues, on February 22, 2011

During the 2010–11 season, on February 19, 2011, he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, along with Jay McClement and a conditional first-round pick (that Colorado used to select Duncan Siemens), in exchange for Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk and a conditional second-round pick, which St. Louis used to select Ty Rattie.[9] Later that day, Johnson made his Avalanche debut at the HP Pavilion at San Jose in a 4–0 defeat to the San Jose Sharks.[10] In his second game, Johnson faced his former team and posted his first goal as a member of the Avalanche in a 4–3 victory over the Blues on February 22, 2011.[11]

On July 3, 2012, Johnson signed a four-year, $15 million extension with the Avalanche. He was selected to the 2015 NHL All-Star Game on January 10, 2015.[12] At the time of his selection, he was leading all defensemen in goal-scoring.

On September 22, 2015, Johnson signed a seven-year, $42 million extension with the Avalanche,[13] making him the highest paid player on the Avalanche roster and one of the highest paid defensemen in the NHL.

During the 2017–18 NHL season Johnson played in his 600th NHL game on December 3, 2017, in a 7–2 loss to the Dallas Stars.[14] At the time, Johnson led the team, and was the fifth highest in the league, in average ice time at 26:24 minutes.[14] Johnson was suspended for two games on December 17, 2017, for boarding Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov.[15]

International play[edit]

Medal record
Representing  United States
Ice hockey
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 2010 Vancouver
World Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2013 Stockholm/Helsinki
World Junior Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2007 Leksand
World U18 Championships
Gold medal – first place 2005 České Budějovice
Gold medal – first place 2006 Halmstad

As a product of the US NTDP, Johnson first made his international debut for the United States at the 2005 World U17 Hockey Challenge. In the same year, he captured a gold medal as a 17-year-old at the 2005 World Under-18 Championships. Johnson scored ten points in six games the 2006 World Under-18 championships to help the U.S. retain the gold medal, and was selected as the Bob Johnson Award winner as the Best American player in international competition.[16]

Johnson was a member of the U.S. junior team that won a bronze medal in the 2007 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. He was named to the tournament's All-Star Team and was named the tournament's Best Defenseman.[17] Johnson finished the tournament with four goals and six assists for ten points, becoming the first defenseman to lead the tournament in scoring.

Representing the senior U.S. team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Johnson received a silver medal after losing in overtime to Canada in the final.[18]

Johnson was chosen to participate in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey for Team USA.[19]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2003–04 Academy of Holy Angels MNHS 31 13 21 34
2004–05 U.S. National Development Team USDP 54 11 15 26 27
2005–06 U.S. National Development Team USDP 47 16 33 49 89
2006–07 University of Minnesota WCHA 41 4 20 24 50
2007–08 St. Louis Blues NHL 69 5 28 33 30
2007–08 Peoria Rivermen AHL 1 0 0 0 2
2009–10 St. Louis Blues NHL 79 10 29 39 79
2010–11 St. Louis Blues NHL 55 5 14 19 37
2010–11 Colorado Avalanche NHL 22 3 7 10 19
2011–12 Colorado Avalanche NHL 73 4 22 26 26
2012–13 Colorado Avalanche NHL 31 0 4 4 18
2013–14 Colorado Avalanche NHL 80 9 30 39 61 7 1 1 2 2
2014–15 Colorado Avalanche NHL 47 12 11 23 33
2015–16 Colorado Avalanche NHL 73 11 16 27 50
2016–17 Colorado Avalanche NHL 46 2 15 17 9
2017–18 Colorado Avalanche NHL 62 9 16 25 58
2018–19 Colorado Avalanche NHL 80 7 18 25 38 12 2 1 3 4
NHL totals 717 77 210 287 456 19 3 2 5 6


Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2005 United States WHC17 5th 5 2 0 2 4
2005 United States WJC18 1st, gold medalist(s) 6 0 0 0 0
2006 United States WJC18 1st, gold medalist(s) 6 4 6 10 27
2006 United States WJC 4th 7 1 3 4 18
2007 United States WJC 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 7 4 6 10 16
2007 United States WC 5th 7 0 2 2 4
2010 United States OG 2nd, silver medalist(s) 6 1 0 1 4
2013 United States WC 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 10 2 2 4 20
2016 United States WCH 7th 2 0 0 0 2
Junior totals 31 11 15 26 65
Senior totals 25 3 4 7 30

Awards and achievements[edit]

Award Year
All-WCHA Rookie Team 2007
NHL YoungStars Game 2008
NHL All-Star Game 2015 [12]
WJC Best Defenseman Directorate Award 2007
WJC All-Star Team 2007

Racehorse Ownership[edit]

In addition to his accomplished career as an NHL defenseman, Erik Johnson is a proprietor and commercial racehorse breeder for ERJ Racing, LLC. He refers to his hobby as "my outlet away from hockey and my passion."[20]

One of his racehorses, Landeskog, is named after his teammate Gabriel Landeskog.[21]


  1. ^ "Blues top pick Erik Johnson to attend Minnesota this Fall". Minnesota Golden Gophers. 2006-07-24. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  2. ^ "Erik Johnson: The Invisible No.1". CBS Sports. 2006-06-24. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
  3. ^ "Blues take defenseman Erik Johnson with No.1 draft pick". USAToday. 2006-06-24. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  4. ^ "Blues Sign First Overall Draft Pick Erik Johnson". St. Louis Blues. 2007-04-20. Archived from the original on 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
  5. ^ "Blues 5, Kings 3". CBS Sports. 2007-10-06. Archived from the original on 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  6. ^ McGran, Kevin (September 24, 2008). "Golf cart mishap derails Erik Johnson's season". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  7. ^ "Blues' Johnson has season-ending surgery". November 19, 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  8. ^ "Johnson re-signs with Blues for 2 years, $5.2 million". 2010-08-02. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  9. ^ "Blues send former No.1 pick Johnson to Avalanche". The Sports Network. 2011-02-19. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
  10. ^ "Setoguchi tallies hat trick as Sharks blank reeling Avs". National Hockey League. 2011-02-19. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  11. ^ "Johnson scores on former team as Avs knock off Blues". The Sports Network. 2011-02-23. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
  12. ^ a b "Johnson Selected To 2015 NHL All-Star Game". Colorado Avalanche. 2015-01-10. Retrieved 2015-01-11.
  13. ^ Frei, Terry (September 22, 2015). "Erik Johnson signs seven-year contract extension with Avalanche". The Denver Post. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Parmele, Callie (December 4, 2017). "Avs Can't Deliver Against Stars". Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  15. ^ "Erik Johnson suspended two games for boarding Namestnikov". December 17, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  16. ^ "United States 2006 WJC Media Guide" (PDF). USA Hockey. 2006-02-01. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
  17. ^ "Canada eanrs 2007 World U20 Title". July 1, 2007. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  18. ^ Rutherford, Jeremy (March 9, 2010). "David Backes and Erik Johnson show off their Olympic silver medals". St. Louis Today. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  19. ^ Nguyen, Joe (May 27, 2016). "Matt Duchene, Erik Johnson, Carl Soderberg added to World Cup rosters". The Denver Post. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  20. ^ Prewitt, Alex. "Meet Erik Johnson, race horse owner and breeder". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  21. ^ "Colorado Avalanche: Erik Johnson's Horse in Grade 1 Race at Belmont". Mile High Sticking. 2019-06-09. Retrieved 2019-11-28.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Sidney Crosby
NHL first overall draft pick
Succeeded by
Patrick Kane
Preceded by
T. J. Oshie
St. Louis Blues first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Patrik Berglund
Preceded by
Marc Staal
World Junior Best Defenceman
Succeeded by
Drew Doughty