Erik Johnson Shines in Stastny Return

For the first time in eight NHL seasons Paul Stastny was playing a game at The Pepsi Center in Denver CO without the Avalanche A on his chest.  The most highly sought after free agent over the off season made his return to Denver sporting his new St. Louis Blues jersey.  Stastny had spent his entire career with the Avalanche after two years playing for the Pioneers of Denver University.

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

Stastny finished the game with only 12:34 of ice time in a one goal game that the Blues won in OT with a TJ Oshie wrist shot from between the hash marks.

It was a former Blue now Avalanche player that provided all the offense for the home team.  Erik Johnson scored both goals for Colorado that, at the very least, secured them one point in the standings against a division rival.  On a roster with skilled forwards with names like Matt Duchene, Gabe Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O’Reilly it was a defenseman that got the goals.

Johnson’s first goal was a Defesnsman’s dream of a laser from the point on the power play.

Then late in the second period with the Avalanche down by one Johnson reached into his bag of tricks and this time used his wrist shot to beat Allen and tie the game.  Johnson finished the game with 23:48 of ice time and continued his incredible play he has shown since Patrick Roy took over as the Avalanche coach.

Johnson’s Time in Colorado

Johnson tied a career high for regular season points in 2013-2014 finishing the spectacular year with 39 points.  When combining last season and this season so far Johnson has played in 109 games and has 54 points. 15 goals and 39 assists.

In his previous three season with the Avalanche, one season was the 2012-2013 lock out shortened season in which Johnson only played 31 games and none of the Avalanche defensemen where very offensive.  Also  Johnson only played 22 games as a member of the Avalanche after he was traded to Colorado from St Louis during the 2010-2011 campaign.

From February 19th 2011, the day he was traded, to the end of the 2012-2013 season Johnson played 126 games and in that stretch and only registered 7 goals and 33 assists.  Johnson is now the undisputed number one defenseman on the Avalanche roster and as long as he is healthy he will continue to play big minutes game after game.   Eric Johnson is signed through the 2015-2016 season and the Avalanche have recently felt the sting of a top name guy leaving for nothing via free agency.  Look for Johnson to continue his dominate play and one could imagine the Avalanche organization plans to keep Johnson in the mix for years to come.