Former Red Wing, longtime National Hockey League veteran Greg Johnson passes away


AP Nashville’s Greg Johnson tangles with Boston’s Kyle Mc Laren during a 1999 game

Johnson remained a fan favorite in Nashville years after his retirement.

In his four years at North Dakota, Johnson led the Fighting Sioux in scoring in three straight seasons.

Originally taken by the Philadelphia Flyers, Johnson - a centre - was the 33rd overall pick in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft out of the USHL's Thunder Bay Flyers.

Johnson played an important depth role on those Red Wings teams until he was traded in 1997, right before the Wings won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 42 years.

Johnson was on the 1994 Canadian Olympic team that earned a silver medal in Lillehammer, Norway. After three-plus seasons there, he joined the Penguins for a couple of seasons before going to the Blackhawks for one year.

The native of Thunder Bay, Ont., was selected by the Predators in the 1998 expansion draft and became the franchise's second captain after Tom Fitzgerald.

Johnson remains North Dakota's all-time leading scorer with 272 points (74 goals, 198 assists) in 155 games and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2013. The Predators also advanced to the post-season in Johnson's final campaign in 2005-06. Johnson guided the team to their first two National Hockey League playoffs appearance.

Johnson, a center, appeared in 177 games for the Red Wings, picking up 33 goals and 48 assists.

The NHL Players Association didn't like that he didn't push the Nashville Predators harder for more money, but he didn't care, there was only one place he wanted to play and it was Nashville.

Johnson is survived by his wife and two children.

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