Former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson dead at 48

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Greg Johnson, a 12-year NHL veteran who appeared in 758 career games and served as a longtime captain of the Nashville Predators, died Monday at the age of 48.

Originally a second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1989, the retired center opened his hockey career with prominent roles for the University of North Dakota and Canada's men's national team, earning a silver medal for his country's efforts at the 1994 Winter Olympics. He's perhaps best known, however, for captaining the Predators from 2002-2006, logging 93 goals and 238 points in seven seasons with Nashville.

A three-time finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top men's player in NCAA ice hockey, Johnson made his NHL debut with the Detroit Red Wings in 1993 and spent just under four seasons with the team before splitting time between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks from 1997-1998. Johnson was the 23rd pick of the 1998 Expansion Draft, and became the second captain in Predators history and went on to score a career-high 50 points (16 goals, 34 assists) in his first season in Nashville.

Johnson remains North Dakota's all-time leading scorer with 272 points (74 goals, 198 assists) in 155 games and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2013.

The Chronicle Journal in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Johnson's hometown, first reported the news, which has since been confirmed by the NHL. No cause of death has been provided.

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