Sports Outside the Beltway

Breaking: Jack Johnson Jumps To NHL

Looks like Jack Johnson the #3 pick in the 2005 NHL draft will leave University of Michigan and play for the Los Angeles Kings this week.

DENVER, March 25 – Michigan star defenseman Jack Johnson is negotiating a contract with the Los Angeles Kings today, ending speculation of whether the sophomore would forgo his two remaining years of eligibility.

Johnson confirmed his departure in an exclusive interview with The Michigan Daily this afternoon.

“I thought I was ready for a new challenge,” Johnson said. “With all my close friends, the seniors, gone now and everything, I thought it was time for me to pretty much go for a new challenge.”

Following Michigan’s 8-5 loss to North Dakota Saturday night in the NCAA West Regional semifinals in Denver, the team flew back to Ann Arbor, but Johnson and his family stayed behind. Johnson’s agent, Pat Brisson, and the Kings’ general manager, Dean Lombardi, worked out the details of the contract.

“I’ll be flying from Denver to Los Angeles,” Johnson said. “Everything’s done except for they’re negotiating bonuses.”

Johnson said he will be in the Kings’ lineup Tuesday night when they play on the road against the San Jose Sharks.

The Kings aquired the rights to Johnson just before the start of the season from Carolina, in a trade that saw the Kings send forward Eric Belanger and defenseman Tim Gleason to Carolina for Jack Johnson and defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky. The Kings took advantage of Carolina who was desperate for an NHL defenseman and in need of a willing partner to take on Tverdovsky’s contract. While the move hurt the Kings in the short term, this news makes the pain go away.

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