Ryan Johansen has finally found himself and his game at the NHL level. Since being drafted 4th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Johansen has been pegged as the Columbus Blue Jackets first top line center since, well ever. He has yet to grow into that position, that is until this season. Johansen is in the midst of an 8 game points streak, encompassing 4 goals and 6 assists during the streak.
With Johansen’s success a few questions have been coming to mind regarding him and his stellar play. Has “it” just clicked for Johansen, or is this great play due to the fact that he is in a contract year? Will he show any type of loyalty to the only organization he has known, or is it whoever has the biggest checkbook?
Johansen has always been the quiet type, on the ice, off the ice, and in interviews. I think this bodes well for the Blue Jackets and their chances at resigning the prototypical looking center. Columbus is a small market for hockey and I can not see Johansen wanting all the limelight of a much bigger city, he can have a chat with Rick Nash if he thinks that would be best. Now he can get a payday in another smaller market, but why would you leave somewhere you have called home for 3 years. More importantly, why would you leave a team that has a young nucleus of up and coming talent?
So why are we seeing this young man just now producing at this elite level? Well we have always seen flashes of greatness out of Johansen, whether it be silky smooth passes, a sniper’s shot, or the ability to shut down the other teams top center. I feel it has all come together at just the right time, the kid is just 21 years old for Pete’s sake. He has probably been learning the game at the NHL level while growing into his mature frame, which can take some players longer to become acclimated with.
Another great thing Columbus has going for them in retaining Johansen’s rights is the fact that he will be a restricted free agent at year’s end. If another team wants Johansen, they will have to present an offer sheet, which the Blue Jackets get the chance to match if they want. Johansen then would stay a Columbus Blue Jacket, at the terms of the offer sheet originally proposed by the other team. This is huge for the Blue Jackets, as they will have a chance to keep the youngster if they see fit and can fit it under their cap. I can not see Columbus not matching an offer, unless it is above and beyond what Johansen is worth. In that case the Blue Jackets would receive draft picks to compensate them for the loss of Johansen.
I hope Johansen wants to be a Blue Jacket, because this city and its fans want to see him wear Union Blue for a long time, especially if this is the player we are going to get from here on out. What say you fans, why are we just now seeing this type of play out of Johansen? Would you like to see Johansen back in 2014-2015, and do you think he will be back next year?
Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets