Johnson was available to be claimed by any team without surrendering an asset. He has four seasons remaining on his current deal at $5 million per.
The Lightning were reportedly unable to facilitate a deal to one of the seven or eight team's on Johnson's trade list before waiving him, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun. A deal can still be made at any time.
Johnson, 30, notched 14 goals and 17 assists in 65 games during the regular season, then added four goals and three assists during Tampa Bay's run to the Stanley Cup.