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Former NHL player Greg Johnson dies at 48: Cause of death not yet revealed

former nashville predators captain greg johnson during a 2013 interview
Former NHL player Greg Johnson in a 2013 interview. Pic credit: Official Nashville Predators/YouTube

Former NHL player Greg Johnson passed away this past Monday at the age of 48. As of this report, his cause of death is still unknown.

The Canadian center spent 14 years in the NHL playing for five different teams through. There has already been an outpouring of condolences and thoughts extended in honor of Johnson on social media.

Johnson’s NHL career included Red Wings, Predators

Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Greg Johnson played for North Dakota. He became the University of North Dakota’s all-time leading scorer with a total of 272 points during his collegiate career.

Due to his college success and potential, he also became the No. 33 pick in the league’s 1989 NHL entry draft. Although Philadelphia drafted him, they traded him to Detroit and he spent his first four seasons as a member of the Red Wings.

Johnson officially entered the league in the 1993-94 season as a member of the Wings’ roster. In his rookie season, he’d impress with six goals and 11 assists. While his sophomore season wasn’t quite as productive, Johnson would achieve 40 points in his third season with the Wings including a career-high 18 goals.

Detroit traded Johnson to the Pittsburgh Penguins where he spent just under two seasons before a trade sent him to Chicago in 1997-98. Ultimately, he’d go to the Nashville Predators the next season and spent the remainder of his NHL career there.

Greg Johnson’s career season came in that 1998-99 NHL season, his first with Nashville. He tallied 50 points from 34 assists and 16 goals. He was also a captain with the Predators and was given the league’s Selke Award for the 2003-04 season. The trophy is given to the league’s top forward in terms of their defensive skills through the season.

He attempted to make a return to the Detroit Red Wings in 2005. However, a team physical prevented that as it revealed a heart condition. Johnson was ultimately forced to retire after 12 NHL seasons. His career numbers included 145 goals and 224 assists through a total of 785 NHL games.

Johnson remembered as hard worker, leader

With the news of Greg Johnson’s passing now online, there are those former teammates, fans, journalists, and others providing thoughts and condolences for the NHL player’s death.

Author John Glennon, who is a writer with The Athletic, provided a tweet showing a portion of an article he wrote. It captured comments from Predators analyst Chris Mason which described Johnson’s leadership style and work ethic.

Former NHL player Chris Therien teamed with Greg Johnson during an Olympics run. He has worked with NBC Sports Philadelphia after a 12-season NHL career. Therien tweeted his thoughts about the former Predators captain.

Fans also offered their memories and thoughts about the former Red Wings and Predators player. That included one fan showing a keepsake she has held onto from Johnson’s playing days in Detroit.

Another fan remembered the historic moment that Greg Johnson participated in for the Nashville Predators.

In a 2013 YouTube video clip on the Official Nashville Predators YouTube channel, the former captain sits down for an interview. The video also includes highlights involving Johnson during his career.

The report of Greg Johnson’s death first arrived from The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

All that’s known at this time is that Greg Johnson passed away this past Monday (July 8) at his home located in Metro Detroit. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

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