The Sheffield Steelers defence corps is complete. This morning the 2015-16 league champions announced the signing of experienced defenceman Aaron Johnson to the new look blue line.
Johnson arrives in Sheffield having spent the last two seasons in the DEL with Adler Mannheim, where he competed in the Champions Hockey League. That stint was Johnson’s first outside North America and he now brings his valuable experience to South Yorkshire and the Steelers.
The experience that Johnson has in his locker is immense. The Port Hawkesbury native has played in both the NHL and the AHL as well as the DEL, that’s some hockey CV. A third round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2001, where he went 85th overall, Johnson made his NHL debut for them in the 2003-04 season. That debut season also saw him split time with their then AHL afflilate Syracuse Crunch. Amongst his team-mates in Syracuse that season were former Steelers players Steven Goertzen and Shawn Limpright as well as former Belfast player-coach Derrick Walser and Nottingham Panthers playmaker David Ling.
Johnson spent 2004-05 with the Crunch before having a second split NHL/AHL season in 2005-06. He then had a full season in the NHL before leaving the Blue Jackets as a free agent at the end of the 2006-07 campaign and subsequently signed a one year deal with the New York Islanders. 30 games later, Johnson was on the move again at the expiry of that Islanders deal: this time choosing a similar one year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks where he stayed for one and a bit seasons before being traded early in the 2009-10 to Calgary with Kyle Greentree heading in the opposing direction.
More trades followed in subsequent seasons, including a return to Columbus, yet his final three seasons in North America saw him ice purely in the AHL as he captained three different sides each season. Then came the move to the DEL with Adler and now his latest travels bring him to Sheffield and the Elite League. Steelers have acquired him through a MBA deal with long running sponsors the University of Sheffield, and he adds presence as well as his experience to a Steelers roster which has been completely revamped this summer.
Johnson will wear 53 for the Steelers.