Johnson was not on the Blue Jackets' protected list for the upcoming expansion draft, but is rumored to be one of the players the Golden Knights have agreed not to select in exchange for Columbus' first-round pick (24th overall) in the 2017 draft, Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports.
The blueliner may not have been of much interest to the expansion team anyway as a 30-year-old with one year remaining on his contract, but Johnson will remain in Columbus and reprise his role on the team's second pairing with David Savard. The duo formed a steady complement to the young and extremely talented Seth Jones and Zach Werenski on the top pairing, helping Johnson post a career-best plus-23 rating last season in addition to his five goals and 23 points.
Johnson might have his ice time reduced over the final two games of the regular season, Tom Reed of The Columbus Dispatch reports.
The Blue Jackets' depth on the blue line has been tested down the stretch with both Zach Werenski (shoulder) and Ryan Murray (hand) sidelined, and now that their first-round playoff matchup is set in stone, coach John Tortorella may want to give his key defensemen a bit of a break prior to their postseason showdown with the Penguins. Johnson has carried a heavy load this season, averaging 21:47 a night, and if Werenski can't return for the start of the playoffs that ice time will probably increase with Johnson and David Savard forming the Jackets' most reliable defensive duo. Getting fewer shifts this weekend might help keep some pep in Johnson's postseason step.
Johnson posted a goal with three blocked shots in Sunday's 3-2 loss against the Capitals.
Johnson has managed just 23 points this season, but he is working on a three-game point streak with two goals and an assist. He has managed a solid plus-21 rating with 87 hits and 127 blocked shots to help fantasy owners in deeper pools.
Johnson recorded a power-play assist and registered three shots on net during Friday's win over Buffalo.
The veteran defenseman has turned in a respectable fantasy campaign for deep seasonal settings because of his cross-category production. His 18 points don't move the needle, but with 96 shots, 104 blocked shots, 76 hits and a plus-19 rating, Johnson isn't a fantasy plug. Just keep expectations in check because he isn't going to pile on the offensive numbers.
Johnson has never grown into the promise of a third overall pick, but he's been steady for the Jackets. His offense is thin these days -- JJ now sits with three goals and 17 points in 59 games. But his team counts on him for more than scoring. Unfortunately, that makes Johnson a marginal fantasy play in all but the deepest of formats.