"I was outside there and Conacher was like 'hey did you hear the news?' I didn't know what he was talking about," Johnson explained. "He said, 'yeah we picked up Boychuk in a trade there.' It was definitely exciting, so I sent him a text right away. Just letting him know if he needed anything I'd be more than willing to help out. He called me five minutes later."
Unlike Nick Leddy, who was acquired on Saturday via a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks, Boychuk is only familiar with Johnson in the Islanders room. The two discussed the situation on Long Island during that phone call after the trade. "[Johnson] said it's a great area for family and he says that I think I'm really gonna like it here," Boychuk told reporters.
Johnson and Boychuk were teammates last season when Johnson played backup with the Bruins. The backup net minder called Boychuk a "really good locker room guy" and said he helped keep the locker room together in Boston:
"He was a good influence in the locker room. Especially on the ice, too" Johnson said. "Just to know we're gonna get a player like Johnny to help this team out on the power play, and with his big shot, and defensively. It's always nice to know you have a guy that can really have a good presence back there for us."
Along with being a top-four defenseman, Boychuk brings Stanley Cup experience. He captured the cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011.
Boychuk's 79 games of playoff experience is part of why Johnson labeled him a big game player:
"He's got a lot of experience in the playoffs and he won a Stanley Cup. You can't replace that," Johnson said. "That's such a huge part of the game, that experience. He's got a big shot. A really heavy shot. Everyone was talking to me to like 'oh my god Johnny's got a big shot.' That was the talk of how hard of a shot he had and obviously his defensive play...I'd compare him to like a Dan Girardi. Dan obviously gets a little more recognition being there. Johnny was maybe a little underrated in Boston. Appreciated, but you had so many good (defensemen) there that it's hard to be a focal point there."
Boychuk will have an easier time standing out among defensemen on Long Island.