I sat down with former NHL goalie Chad Johnson for a podcast interview for The Broadway Hat Podcast this week. Chad played 9 seasons in the NHL and suited up for eight different organizations. He played in 192 NHL games between the pipes and finished with a career record of 80-75-12. He ended his career with 8 career shutouts and a solid .907 save percentage.
Chad was a four-year star at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Following a solid first three seasons with the Nanooks Chad had one of the best seasons by an NCAA goalie his senior year. That season he posted an incredible 1.65 GAA and a .940 save percentage. Those outstanding numbers earned him several post-season awards. He was named the CCHA Player of the Year, Goalie of the Year, First Team All-Star, and 2nd Team All-American. Chad was also a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, which is awarded to the top collegiate player.
New York Rangers
Chad was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 5th Round of the 2006 NHL Draft. He would never suit up for Pittsburgh. Following his Senior season, he was traded to the New York Rangers. In his rookie season, Chad would serve as the Rangers backup goalie to future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist. He would appear in 5 games and earned his first NHL win against the Colorado Avalanche on January 31st, 2010. Chad was able to learn under one of the best goalie coaches in the NHL, Benoit Allaire. Here is a great clip of him talking about Allaire’s coaching style and how he gets the most out of his goalies.
Great insight from this week's guest Chad Johnson about what makes Benoit Allaire such a great coach and also how lucky Rangers fans are to go from Hank to Igor. Chad tells some great stories from his time with the Rangers.— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) April 27, 2022
Full episode link⬇️https://t.co/WPXkZi5bkI#NYR #NHL pic.twitter.com/qdh6Fwc6t8
Chad would spend 3 seasons with the Rangers organization. He currently is second all-time in Hartford Wolf Pack history, the Rangers AHL affiliate, in games played by a goalie with 136.
NHL Breakout Season
Chad would move on from the Rangers and play one season with the Arizona Coyotes. He would only appear in 4 games but his eye-popping 1.22 GAA and a .954 save percentage caught the eye of the Boston Bruins. Chad would sign with Boston for the 2013-14 season and win the backup goalie job out of training camp. Johnson and Bruins starter Tuukka Rask would form one of the top goaltending duos in the NHL. The two goaltenders would lead the Bruins to a President’s Trophy for only the second time in team history. Johnson would finish the year with a 17-4-3 record and was top 6 in the NHL in both GAA (2.10) and save percentage (.925).
The New York Tour
Johnson would parlay his big year with the Bruins into a 2-year contract with the New York Islanders. His Islanders tenure would not last as long as he would have wanted. After just 19 games in an Islanders jersey, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres. In his first season with Buffalo Johnson would take over as the team starting goalie and played a career-high 45 games and put up a solid .920 save percentage on a struggling team.
Playing Back at Home and Return to Buffalo
Johnson signed with his hometown Calgary Flames for the 2016-17 season. Building on his solid season with Buffalo the year before, Chad would start 36 games and formed a solid goaltending duo with Brian Elliott. Chad helped the Flames reach the playoffs, where he would make his NHL playoff debut coming in relief for Elliott in Game 4 of the first round. After the one season with Calgary, he would resign with the Sabres. Unable to replicate the success he had in his first stint in Buffalo, Johnson would play 36 games and once again team up with Robin Lehner. Johnson talked about how much he enjoyed playing in Buffalo and expressed his support for the Pegula family, who own the Sabres.
This weeks guest Chad Johnson talked about the struggles the team had while he was playing in Buffalo but shared some positive thoughts about the teams ownership and how much they care. Great listen for any #LetsGoBuffalo fan.— The Broadway Hat Podcast (@Broadwayhatpod) April 28, 2022
Episode Link⬇️https://t.co/WPXkZi5bkI#HockeyTwitter pic.twitter.com/Pv4EGoieBS
Johnson was selected to represent Hockey Canada at the 2010 and 2017 World Championships. Chad was unbeatable in a Team Canada jersey. He would play in 6 games combined between both tournaments, finishing with a 3-0 record, a 1.18 GAA, and a .934 save percentage. Chad would win a Silver medal as a member of the 2017 team. Losing to former Rangers teammate Henrik Lundqvist and Team Sweden in the Gold medal game.
Johnson would sign with the St. Louis Blues for the 2018-19 season. The Blues would struggle to start the season and after only 10 games with the Blues, he was placed on waivers and claimed by the Anaheim Ducks the next day. The Blues would call up Jordan Binnington to take Johnson’s roster spot and would catch fire and lead the Blues to a Stanley Cup championship. Johnson would split the net with John Gibson in Anaheim before he suffered a concussion. Unfortunately, the injury not only knock Chad out for the remainder of the season, but would it forced Chad to retire. After 9 NHL seasons and 192 games played Chad hung up the pads.
Be sure to bookmark our hockey page for hockey coverage and follow Belly Up Hockey on Twitter: @BellyUpHockey. Follow me on Twitter for more takes on the New York Rangers and USA Hockey: @KHallNY. You can also listen to my NY Rangers podcast The Broadway Hat Podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify for Rangers news and interviews with past and current players.