The Colorado Avalanche are going to have Erik Johnson on the roster for a long, long time. The defenseman was just given a massive contract extension that will keep him in Denver for the next seven years.
Though the exact terms of the deal are not yet being reported, the average pay for each season is said to be about $6 million. That means that Johnson would make around $42 million if he plays out the entirety of this new extension with the team. If he does, he’d be in Colorado until the 2022-23 NHL season.
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Johnson is 27 years old right now. That does make this extension slightly longer than some fans would like to see, as he’d be 34 by the end of it. It’s safe to say that his level of play at 34 is not going to be the same as it is at 27. This is the type of deal that would be better suited for a player who was about 25.
That said, there’s no doubt that he can still be effective then if he avoids injury and learns to adapt to the game. Older players have to rely a bit more on knowing where to be on the ice, rather than raw speed. For a defensive player, that’s usually the mindset anyway. That makes this a perfect contact for someone at his position.
Plus, that’s what makes the extension possible. The team is interested in it because they know they have a key piece in place going forward. For Johnson, he knows he’ll be paid very well right now, but he also gets the confidence that he’ll be paid well when he’s past his prime. If he had to go out and seek a new contract at age 33, it’d be much harder for him. Therefore, this is the best way for both sides to get things done, and no doubt they both hope it works out long term.
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This is a big honor for Johnson. After being taken with the top pick back in 2006, he played for years in St. Louis. When he was traded, that was something of a slight, as if he wasn’t living up to it. By giving him this contract, the Avalanche are saying that he’s absolutely worth it to them, and he now has a chance to live up to that deal.
Joe Sakic chimed in, saying that Johnson was a huge part of the team’s core, adding a vote of confidence from one of the best to ever play for the Avs.