The Value of Ryan Johansen – Season Review

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.

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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.

2013-14 Season. Click to enlarge

2013-14 Season. Click to enlarge

Just taking a quick look at the WOWY graph, you can tell that the first pairing of Jack Johnson and Fedor Tyutin does not do well with Johansen. The only theory that stands out to me is the usage of this defensive pair has been terrible for a while now but if used in more offensive situations it could prove to be more fruitful. The pairing of Ryan Murray and James Wisniewski on paper would seem to be the best defensive pair to put on the ice with Johansen. Problem with that pairing though, is they have taken a vast majority of their shifts in the offensive zone, something they wouldn’t see a lot of with Johansen as the first line center. While it may not work out for the best, it would be a smart move to test this tandem out as the number one defensive pairing to see if their continued success is sustainable. Johansen, who spent a good portion of his time during the second half of the season with Jenner and Horton, proved that this line is not going to be the one that should be used going forward. While a fairly small sample size considering the amount of games Horton played, the best first line moving forward according to the numbers would seem to be a line including Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson. While unlikely that we will ever see that first line it is interesting to see that in most situations, Johansen is helping his teammates improve at a remarkable rate, while others don’t seem to mesh as well.

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.


Sam Blazer

About Sam Blazer

Co-Founder/Managing Editor/Social Media Manager at Buckeye State Hockey. Sam is a self proclaimed chess prodigy. He once placed seventh in the state of Ohio in Chess when he was in kindergarten. He will rarely if ever mention though that only eight people were entered in this tournament. He acts like he knows hockey and has fooled a lot of people who believe that he does. You will more than likely find a grammatical error in his posts and he apologizes in advance for it.