This is the 12th installment in a series of profiles of members of the Penguins' major-league roster, as listed alphabetically on the team's website. There will be one each weekday until all players have been addressed.
Age: 32 Size: 6 foot 1, 227 pounds Position: Defenseman Acquired: Signed as free agent, 2018 Salary-cap hit: $3.25 million, through 2022-23 2018-19 NHL stats: One goal, 12 assists in 82 games
How he fits: Assuming he is not traded -- the Penguins were prepared to include him in a package that would have gone to Minnesota this summer if Phil Kessel hadn't vetoed the deal -- Johnson projects onto the second or third defense pairing, depending mostly on where the coaching staff decides to use Marcus Pettersson. Then again, considering what a lightning rod Johnson has become since signing here, the Penguins might want to deploy him on the PPG Paints Arena roof whenever a severe storm moves through the area.
Shortcomings: He does not have the mobility or puck-moving ability the Penguins covet in their defensemen. Although he had an offensive dimension to his game earlier in his career -- Johnson put up as many as 42 points in a season while playing in Columbus -- that seems now to be out of his repertoire. The early part of 2018-19 established that Johnson is not effective when playing on the right side.
Strengths: Johnson is durable -- he is the only Penguins defenseman to appear in all 82 regular-season games in 2018-19 -- despite playing a physically demanding style. He is a stay-at-home sort who led the team in hits (233) and blocked shots (147).
Hidden variable: Given that Johnson is counted on to contribute primarily in his own end, his personal stats could improve if there's a team-wide commitment to playing better defense, reducing the number of things like odd-man breaks allowed.
2019-20 expectations: If the coaching staff is willing to partner him with Erik Gudbranson, whose game is similar in many ways, Johnson likely will drop down to the No. 3 pairing. Assuming Jim Rutherford doesn't find a taker for his contract.
The big question: Should Johnson switch his sweater to No. 3, since he might be the most polarizing figure on the Penguins' defense since another guy who wore it, Ron Stackhouse?