USATSI_8291495_154158418_lowresThe Colorado Avalanche have locked up defenceman Erik Johnson with a seven year extension. The club did not release financial terms of the deal, but reports suggest it’s in the range of $6 million a year.

“I’m humbled, honored and very excited to be part of this group for the next seven years,” Johnson said. “Thank you to the Kroenke family, [executive vice president of hockey operations] Joe [Sakic], [coach] Patrick [Roy] and the entire Avalanche organization for their trust. And thank you to all the Avalanche fans for their support. I can’t wait to help bring the Stanley Cup back to Denver.”

Johnson is Colorado’s top defenceman and it’s definitely a good thing that he’s signed through the 2022-2023 season. This season, he’ll be entering the last year of his current four year deal worth $15 million.

“Erik is a big part of the core of this team,” Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said. “We felt it was important for our franchise to secure his rights for the long term as he enters the prime years of his career.”

Johnson had 23 points in 47 games last season after a knee injury cut his year short. As he was named to the 2015 All-Star Game, he was leading all blueliners in goals. The Avalanche are hoping he picks up where he left off last season, which would put him right in there with the league’s elite defencemen.

Johnson was drafted first overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He was signed to a three year deal and scored his first NHL goal against Jonathan Bernier of the Los Angeles Kings in October of 2007. Johnson first hit the 10-goal mark in St. Louis in the 2009-2010 season, when he registered 39 points in 79 games.

The Blues traded him to Colorado in the 2010-2011 season and he’s been there ever since, recording another 39-point season in 2013-2014. He was on target for his best offensive season ever last year prior to the injury.

The plan for the Avalanche going forward is to lock up some of their other key pieces, including Tyson Barrie and Nathan MacKinnon. They’ll both become restricted free agents this summer.

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