Stephen Johns came up through the Pittsburgh Hornets organization.
2008-09: Johns played for the US NTDP Under-17 team. In 31 games vs. NAHL competition, Johns 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.
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 was dealt along with Patrick Sharp by the Blackhawks to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Ryan Garbutt and Trevor Daley.