Stephen Johns came up through the Pittsburgh Hornets organization.
2008-09: Johns played for the US NTDP Under-17 team. In 31 games against NAHL competition he scored 3 goals and added 5 assists for 8 points.
2009-10: Johns played for the US NTDP Under-18 team, where he was often paired with Jon Merrill. Johns was an alternate captain for the team. In 23 games vs. USHL competition, Johns scored 1 goal and added 7 assists. Johns won a gold medal as a member of the Team USA squad that took part in the 2010 Under-18 World Junior Championships. Johns tallied 3 assists in the 7 tournament games. Johns was chosen in the second round, 60th overall, of the 2010 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks.
2010-11: Johns played a prominent role on the Notre Dame blue line as a freshman, appearing in all 44 of the team’s games and scoring 2 goals, 11 assists for 13 points. Though he lined up for some tough assignments as a top four defenseman, his aggressive style came through on the scoresheet in the form of a team-leading 98 PIMs as well as a team worst minus-7 rating.
2011-12: Johns skated in 39 of 40 games for Notre Dame as a sophomore and was a teammate of fellow Blackhawks prospect Adam Clendening on the USA squad at the 2012 U20 World Junior Championship. Johns scored 4 goals with 6 assists and was minus-one with 71 penalty minutes (two minutes less than team leader Nick Larson). Notre Dame struggled down the stretch after winning 10 of its first 15 games (10-2-3). The Fighting Irish finished tied for eighth in the CCHA and were swept by Michigan in the best-of-three CCHA quarterfinals. In six games at the WJC, Johns scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was an even plus/minus with 2 penalty minutes. The USA finished seventh in the ten-team tournament.
2012-13: Johns skated in all 41 games as a junior as Notre Dame captured the CCHA title in the conference’s final season. He scored 1 goal with 13 assists and was +12 with 62 penalty minutes. Notre Dame was second to Miami in the regular season but finished the year going 7-0-2 in a nine-game stretch; capped by a 3-1 win over Michigan in the CCHA championship game. The Fighting Irish lost to St. Cloud State in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals.
2013-14: Johns made his pro hockey debut with Blackhawks’ AHL Rockford following his senior season at Notre Dame; signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks in April 2014. He scored 1 goal with 4 assists and was +2 with 4 penalty minutes in eight games with the IceHogs. The leading scorer amongst defensemen for Notre Dame, he scored 8 goals with 12 assists in 40 games and was +5 with 69 penalty minutes. Notre Dame finished fifth in Hockey East; taking fourth-place Massachusetts-Lowell to three games in the Hockey East quarterfinals before falling 6-4 in the decisive third game and finishing 18-19-5.
2014-15: Johns skated for the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in his first pro season, missing nearly seven weeks after suffering a concussion in October. He scored 4 goals with 17 assists and was +30 with 44 points in 51 regular season games. Rockford finished second in the Midwest Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Johns scored 3 goals with 4 assists and was +4 with 4 penalty minutes in eight playoff games. Johns was obtained by Dallas in July 2015 along with Patrick Sharp by Dallas in exchange for Ryan Garbutt and Trevor Daley.
Johns is a big stay-at-home defenseman with good character. Johns' best asset is his ability to dole out punishment through the physical game, though he does lose defensive positioning at times looking for the big hit. Though he may not project as much of a scorer at the pro level, Johns can deliver hard, accurate passes on the breakout and is not shy about taking shots from the blue line to get the puck to the front of the net.
Johns is skating for Stars' AHL affiliate Texas in 2015-16. In the second year of his original two-year entry-level contract, he has been the AHL club's best defenseman on many nights. Johns provides a strong defensive presence and an intense physical game to go with the many skating, playmaking defensemen in Texas. Yet to receive a call-up in this season, Johns figures to be a solid second or third pairing defenseman at the NHL level in the near future.