Boston Bruins Offseason Notebook: B’s Add Defenseman Aaron Johnson, Ink New ECHL Affiliation

B’s Add Depth With Former Blue Jacket Aaron Johnson

– Last week the Boston Bruins announced the signing of yet another defenseman to add to their already deep group of NHL-quality blueliners. After skating in 56 games for the league-worst Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011-12, 29-year-old Aaron Johnson agreed to join the B’s on a one-year, two-way deal for the 2012-13 season.

Johnson was originally drafted by the Blue Jackets in the third round (85th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry draft. He would go on to play the first six seasons of his career in the Blue Jackets’ organization; amassing seven goals and nineteen assists in 116 NHL contests.

From there, the Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia native would embark on a four-year journey that would see stops in New York (Islanders), Bridgeport, Rockford, Chicago, Calgary, Edmonton and Milwaukee and only 119 NHL appearances before returning home to Columbus on a one-year deal last summer.

In his second stint with the Blue Jackets, Johnson would score three goals and collect a career-high of 13 assists in 56 games last season. The veteran rearguard is expected to compete for the sixth or seventh defense slot out of training camp this September, but will likely begin the year with the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins.

Bruins’ general manager Peter Chiarelli has done a fantastic job this summer in assembling an extraordinarily deep group of NHL-capable defensemen. For the two open spots on the Boston blueline, there should be at least seven players vying for the job; Torey Krug, Aaron Johnson, uber-prospect Dougie Hamilton, newly-signed veteran Garnet Exelby, Boston College product Tommy Cross and incumbent P-Bruins Matt Bartkowski and David Warsofsky.

Bruins, Stingrays Enter New ECHL Affiliation

– After a successful three-season relationship with the East Coast Hockey League’s Reading Royals, the Boston Bruins have opted for a change in their minor league affiliation. The club announced on Wednesday that they’d entered into a one-year agreement with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, allowing the B’s to assign players there next season.

The Stingrays were founded in 1993 as the first ever professional hockey team in the state of South Carolina. The team plays their home games at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina, and had previously served as the ECHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals from 2004-2012. All the information you might need on the Stingrays can be found at StingraysHockey.com.

In the miscellaneous, fun facts department, here’s something you probably didn’t know; current Bruins’ forward Rich Peverley made his professional hockey debut with the Stingrays back in 2004-05. Peverley scored 30 goals, added 28 assists and collected 72 penalty minutes in 69 games for the Stingrays before moving on to the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals in 2005-06.

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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Michigan Fan. Street Hockey Agitator. My work has been featured at the New England and New York Hockey Journals, The Hockey Guys, and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com!

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