By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — He grew up locally and was the number one overall pick in the NHL draft in 2005, which means Erik Johnson has had a few years to learn a few things about the business he is in.

Johnson remembers playing in the USA Developmental Program with speculation about the upcoming draft.

“There was a lot of buzz, and I was in Vancouver, which was a pretty big hockey-crazy city,” Johnson said.

He didn’t just go in the first round; he was the first overall pick in the first round.

“It was pretty nice,” he said. “I went first, and it was a big honor.”

He played a year for the gophers, and after starting his career in St Louis, he was traded to Colorado. His new goal is to keep his NHL tenure.

“There are a lot of sacrifices that go into being a NHL hockey player,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to give up some things as far as hanging out with your friends … that could maybe veer you away from working hard at the gym.”

As he toils to his next goal, he offers some advice for this weekend’s draft picks.

“Don’t take it too seriously,” he said. “This is just the first step in your hockey career, and this doesn’t make or break you as a player.”

He said that many player who get drafted late turn out to be stars.

“It’s no sure thing,” he said.


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