The native of Thunder Bay, Ontario played his junior hockey in Canada before moving to the United States where he graduated at the University of North Dakota and became the team’s all-time scoring leader. Before launching his NHL career he played the 1993 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship as well as the 1991 World Juniors and joined the Detroit Red Wings in 1993/94. He split the season between the NHL, AHL and also represented Canada at the 1994 Olympic Winter games. He played four seasons in Detroit before moving to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks.
Johnson was best remembered in Nashville. The Predators got Johnson in the expansion draft in 1998. He would end up playing seven years for the Preds and was captain between 2001 and 2006 before retiring. He had signed a one-year contract to return to Detroit when physical examination in the pre-season unveiled an irregular heartbeat.
He played 785 NHL games (145 goals, 369 points) and appeared in 37 playoff games (7 goals, 13 points). With Canada he won World Juniors gold in 1991 and took home an Olympic silver medal in 1994.
Johnson is survived by his wife Kristin and two daughters, Carson and Piper. His younger brother Ryan also had a long NHL career before retiring in 2011.