On a bad news day in Dallas, the Stars offered a bit of positive news after inking defenseman Stephen Johns to a two-year contract extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Frank Seravalli reports that the one-way deal carries an AAV of $750,000.
The deal pays out $650,000 in the first year and $800,000 in the second.
“Stephen did a tremendous job leading in Cedar Park for Texas all season long,” Nill said via the release. “He brings size, physicality and skating to our group of defensemen, and we fully expect him to contribute at the NHL level for years to come.”
It’s been a good 24 hours for the 6-foot-4, 225 pound defender. He recently made his NHL debut and grabbed his first NHL point, a goal, in Thursday’s win over Tampa.
It’s a nice get for general manager Jim Nill, who gets a high-upside young defender on contract at a very reasonable price. Johns came into the organization over the summer as a part of the Patrick Sharp trade that saw Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt head to Chicago.
The contract also helps to paint a clearer picture of what the blue line will look like next season after they traded away 24-year-old Jyrki Jokipakka for Kris Russell at the trade deadline.
With the blue line already a weak spot for a team whose championship window is opening, Nill has some work to do in the summer. Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, Jordie Benn and Russell are all set to become unrestricted free agents. Additionally, Jamie Oleksiak is set to become a RFA.
Through 55 games for the AHL Stars, the 23-year-old put up four goals and 20 assists.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.