Aces welcome back Justin Johnson

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Alaska Aces have signed veteran free agent forward Justin Johnson, Aces head coach Rob Murray announced.

The Aces are the ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues and the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild.

Johnson, an Anchorage native who made his National Hockey Debut last season with the New York Islanders, has over 150 games of American Hockey League experience and returns to the place where he made his professional debut, with the Aces in 2005-06.

The 33-year-old has suited up in 345 professional games in the NHL, AHL and ECHL in the last eight-plus seasons and appeared in his first career NHL game last season with the Islanders on April 11 against the New Jersey Devils. Johnson also spent the last four seasons in the AHL with Manchester and Bridgeport, collecting 16 points (5g-11a) and 587 penalty minutes in 153 career games. In 2008-09, he split the season between the Utah Grizzlies and Cincinnati Cyclones, collecting career-highs in goals (13), assists (10), points (23) and penalty minutes (259) in 59 games. He also racked up six points (2g-4a) in 13 Kelly Cup Playoff games that season with Cincinnati. His 62 career games with the Aces, to date, have come over parts of three seasons and most recently had seven points (3g-4a) and 249 penalty minutes in 54 games in 2009-10. His ties to Alaska’s first Kelly Cup title were based in 2005-06 when he earned his first career point (assist) with the Aces, suiting up in four games after turning pro.

Prior to turning pro, Johnson played four seasons with the University of Alaska-Anchorage and left the program tied as the Seawolves all-time leader with 143 career games, also posting 35 points (13g-22a) from 2002-06. He has played 190 career ECHL games, tallying 43 points (24g-19a) and adding 669 penalty minutes from 2005-10.