Ryan Johansen. The best player to dawn the union blue since Rick Nash. He needs a new contract. He feels disrespected. The war of words is already happening in the local papers. Who is going to budge first? What is he thinking? He is only 21 years of age and has already spent what seems to be a lifetime in the NHL. He may be considered a veteran by some but one important distinction needs to be made before passing down judgment, he is still only just a kid.
In his first two years in the league you could see glimpses of his potential shining through. His shooting percentage was pedestrian and showed no signs of going up even when he was used on the power play more in the 12-13 season. Nothing given to him this year was easy by any means, the uptick in scoring can only be correlated to a coaching change made by Todd Richards. The green light to shoot and make this his team allowed him to shoot about two shots more per sixty minutes. That along with slightly increased power play time only meant good things for the British Columbia native.
The stats behind him this year are no fluke. He played some of the toughest minutes on the team and had the most points on the team. You don’t just do that and regress into a ball of mush. He is the real deal and will continue performing like this, barring injury. Finally reaching his potential, the world is at his finger tips. The NHL is for the taking and he wants to have it all. And why can’t he? It’s all falling into place for him and it happened at the perfect time, in his contract year.
The push is being made by the front office executives that he can grow and be even better. This assumption is not unwarranted, the sky is the limit for him and he knows it. Why then does he feel disrespected by the teams executives? They have asked a lot of the 21 year old and he feels like it may be burdensome. While pushing for his best they have questioned his conditioning as well, a tactic that is based on tough love, which has rubbed him the wrong way. With added maturity one could come to the conclusion that he will no longer look back at this as a waste of time but as a tool to make him the superstar he can be. A tough pill to swallow in the short term, it could yield big results for him in the long term. The only person that knows just how good Ryan Johansen will be, is the man himself. Good luck kid, the organization is counting on you.