That didn't take long.
A couple of days after we learned of the Pittsburgh Penguins' reported interest in Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, well, things heated up. At least one outlet, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said the two parties were in "intense" discussions during the free agent courting period.
Pittsburgh radio host Mark Madden first tweeted Wednesday afternoon that those conversations resulted in a deal.
Defenseman Jack Johnson has agreed to a 5-yr deal w/the Penguins. Will become official Sunday when NHL free agency officially begins. For more, tune in to @1059theX .— Mark Madden (@MarkMaddenX) June 27, 2018
Not long after Madden's tweet, Jason Mackey of the Post-Gazette – who had the initial report – swooped in to confirm.
.@MarkMaddenX first reported that the Penguins intend to sign defenseman Jack Johnson Sunday to a five-year deal. Confirming that. Source says it will be in the $16 million range total (between $3-$3.5 million AAV).— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) June 27, 2018
It's a curious move for Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who has assembled Stanley Cup winning teams twice in the last four seasons. But the Penguins believe they can help defensemen bounce back after tough seasons (Justin Schultz, for example), and this one would be a doozy if they could rehabilitate a player who has struggled defensively throughout his career.
Expect the Penguins to make the Johnson deal official shortly after 12 p.m. ET Sunday, when NHL free agency opens.
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