2006 #1 Overall Pick to Help Avalanche

Erik_Johnson_2013DENVER — It’s been seven years since Erik Johnson was chosen by the St. Louis Blues with the first pick of the 2006 NHL Draft, and so far that lofty draft status has turned out to be more of a curse.

Now at age 25 and in his fourth season with the Colorado Avalanche, the 6-foot-4, 232-pound defenseman is optimistic that he finally will get what has been a disappointing career moving in a positive direction.

A restructured management team led by executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic is one reason; a new coaching staff led by Patrick Roy is another. They were the mainstays of the Avalanche’s two Stanley Cup championship teams, and Johnson believes their return to Denver in prominent roles bodes well for the team’s future as well as his own.

“They both won here in Colorado, so they know what it was like and how it was done, the ins and outs of everything about being a winning team,” Johnson told NHL.com. “Just their attitude and their presence and their knowledge will go a long way for our young group. Just the winning mentality, I think, will be really, really good for us. The knowledge and the swagger that they have, I think they can translate that into building a team.”

Source: Rick Sadowski; NHL