The 36-year-old Canadian has spent a total of seven seasons in the DEL. He played for the Kassel Huskies from 1994 to 1999 and for the Berlin Capitals from 1999 to 2001. He finished among the league's top offensive defensemen several times, ultimately claiming the crown last season after tallying 46 points (19 goals, 27 assists, 54 penalty minutes) in 65 games.
Johnston (6'1", 190 lbs.) signed a one-year deal and will join the Barons after the "Deutschland Cup"-break in early November. A natural forward, he has very sound offensive instincts. Johnston is also supposed to give the Barons extra firepower on the blueline. Skilled two-way player
"Greg is a two-way player," Barons sports director Fedra said. "And, in addition to that, he knows the league very well. We initially wanted to bring him in during the offseason, but couldn't work out a deal then."
Johnston started out the 2000/01-season with MoDo of the Swedish Eliteserien. The Johnston family never really felt comfortable in Sweden, though, and Greg requested termination of his contract after only 13 games (two goals, three assists).Long-time Boston Bruin
Born in Barrie, Ontario/Canada, 14 January 1965, Johnston played his junior hockey for the Toronto Marlboros of the OHL. He was drafted 42nd overall by the NHL's Boston Bruins in 1983. The right winger spent seven campaigns in Boston, playing alongside future hall-of-famer Ray Bourque and former Barons Bob Sweeney and Bobby Joyce. Current Barons forward Peter Douris was also one of his former Bruins teammates. Two-time Stanley-Cup finalist
In 209 NHL games with Boston and the Toronto Maple Leafs, Johnston registered 28 goals, 30 assists and 136 penaly minutes.
"With the Bruins, I went to the Stanley Cup Finals twice, in 1988 and 1990," Johnston recalled. "However we lost both series to the Edmonton Oilers."Relocation to Germany in 1992
After failing to make the roster with the Maple Leafs in the early 90s, Johnston sought his luck overseas. He spent two campaigns with Germany's second-division club ECD Sauerland before joining the Kassel Huskies of the DEL in 1994.
"It was a permanent up and down between the NHL and the minors," he explained. "That wasn't too good for my family. We had already considered moving to Europe and when the opportunity opened up, we seized it."Transition to defense
Kassel's Hans Zach, who also coaches Team Germany, decided to turn the natural forward into a defenseman.
"Hans asked me if I could help out on defense for a while 'cause we were being bothered by injuries," Johnston recalls his transition. "I replied: Sure, no problem! I've played defenseman ever since. I feel pretty comfortable, although I'd been a forward for most of my career."
And his numbers give further proof to that. In 351 DEL games with the Kassel Huskies and Berlin Capitals, Johnston tallied 122 goals and 178 assists.