Black and Blue Jackets

Michael Amato

2014-09-09

ryanjohansen

 

This week the Eastern Edge will look at the Ryan Johansen situation and the hard-hitting Columbus Blue Jackets.

 

 

If the Blue Jackets and Ryan Johansen can’t come to terms on a contract, they may be forced to start the season without their number one center. The 22-year-old had a breakout season last year, recording 33 goals and 63 points. Looking back at his final junior season, 2010-11, Johansen struck for 40 goals and 92 points in 63 games for Portland of the Western Hockey League. That same campaign, he had nine points in six games for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship. He jumped straight from junior to the NHL, recording 21 points in 67 games as a rookie.

 

Johansen split his sophomore season (2012-13) as a professional between the AHL and NHL. He notched 17 goals and 33 points in 40 AHL contests, but didn’t fare as well, recording only five goals and 12 points in 40 NHL matches. Then came last season; 33 goals and 63 points, followed up by six points in six playoff games. So what happens if he holds out and doesn’t start the season with the big club, who is in line to inherit Johansen’s ice time and benefit from his absence?

 

Brandon Dubinsky would take over top line duties, but without Johansen drawing the opposing team’s top checking matchups, Dubinsky’s numbers may not see a marked increase. They could move Boone Jenner back to the middle, but are more likely to simply bump up Artem Anisimov. The 26-year-old Russian was used most often in a defensive role last season, but this is a guy who as a 20-year-old, registered 37 goals and 81 points in 80 games in his sophomore AHL campaign. He had an NHL career best 22 goals last year and recorded 44 points back in 2010-11 with the New York Rangers. A move up to the second line comes with more offensively inclined wingers and that should equate to better numbers for Anisimov.