The Bruins have inked another free agent defenseman to a club-friendly deal thats adding to their overall defensemen depth.
The Bs have signed defenseman Aaron Johnson to a one-year, two-way deal after he put up a career-high 16 points in 56 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets last season. The 6-foot-1, 204-pound Johnson has played in 281 career NHL games for the Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks while putting up 17 goals and 45 assists for 61 points along with 217 penalty minutes.
During the 2010-11 season the 29-year-old played in 72 games with the AHLs Milwaukee Admirals after signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Nashville Predators, and recorded AHL career highs with nine goals, 26 assists and 35 points, while recording a plus-10 rating and 70 penalty minutes.
Johnson will make 650,000 if the contract is at the NHL level and 105,000 at the AHL level next season, and provides veteran insurance along with Garnet Exelby if Dougie Hamilton isnt quite NHL ready in Bruins training camp.
The signing of Johnson and Exelby, both to two-way contracts, also likely closes the door for any chance that the Bruins might bring back Mike Mottau for a full season with the Black and Gold. Mottau finished scoreless in six regular season games and two playoff contests for Boston last year after he arrived via trade from the New York Islanders.
The former Boston College standout had also voiced a strong interest in returning to the Bruins as a potential sixthseventh defenseman for this upcoming season, but that doesnt appear to be in the cards. The likelihood is that Johnson spends the bulk of the 2012-13 season with the Providence Bruins and simply stands ready if injuries hit the Boston defensemen corps throughout the year. One interesting side note to the Johnson signing: he was said to be Rick Nash's best friend on the Blue Jackets team last season. A minor league free agent signing doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the Blue Jackets franchise winger coming to Boston.Butdoes add another layer of interest to the proceedings, doesn't it?