The life of an AHLer can be difficult, but 24-year-old Adam Johnson had the moment every kid dreams. The Hibbing, MN native found a Sam Lafferty rebound and scorched it behind Devan Dubnyk for his first NHL goal at the 8:49 mark of the second period, Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.
The goal featured a lot of kickers as well. Johnson scored the goal in his home state of Minnesota and in the presence of family and friends. The goal was also assisted by fellow emergency AHL callup Sam Lafferty, who scored his first NHL point. Lafferty, a Hollidaysburg, PA native played in his third NHL game and talked to PHN earlier in the week about the WBS callups taking ownership of the opportunity. The 24-year-old Johnson received a call up on Wednesday to take the place of injured Alex Galchenyuk, who was placed on IR. Johnson talked about his confidence before Thursday game.
“I’m a little less nervous than I was last year coming in,” Johnson said. “It’s a little more comfortable now. I’m really excited to help this team.”
Johnson played junior hockey out of high school in the United States Hockey League with the Indiana Ice and Sioux City Musketeers. Undrafted, he played two seasons of collegiate hockey with the University of Minnesota Duluth in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. He attended the Pittsburgh Penguins prospect development camp before opting to conclude his collegiate career early, agreeing to a two-year, entry-level contract with the Penguins on July 6, 2017.
Last year, he played in six games for the Penguins down the stretch as a late-season callup. He made his NHL debut on March 21st, 2018, and tallied his first NHL points in the Penguin’s March 31st victory against Carolina and scored two assists.
Adam Johnson and Lafferty also assisted on Joseph Blandisi’s first goal as a Penguin later in the period Saturday. I guess they will have to fight over who gets the puck; anyone own a hacksaw?