Ramblings: Johnson, Power, and Beniers Set to Debut; Updates on Stone, Couturier, Doughty, and Kadri – April 12

Michael Clifford

2022-04-12

This past week have seen a lot of big-name prospect signings as all of Kent Johnson, Matty Beniers, and Owen Power signed following the end of Michigan's season. It seems as if all three could make their debuts this week for Columbus, Seattle, and Buffalo, respectively. They are all prospects that we are high on for various reasons, so let's talk about them.

Johnson

His Dobber Prospects profile is here.

The 19-year-old is generally known more for his playmaking than his scoring. That isn't an issue for now, as we have seen playmaking centres turn into dual threats; Elias Lindholm and Mark Scheifele come to mind. Not comparing him directly to them, I'm just saying that Johnson is far from a finished product at the moment.

The British Columbia native should have lots of opportunities for a prime role with the Jackets, too. At least for this year. Cole Sillinger and Jack Roslovic have far from locks on top-6 roles, and it doesn't look as if Boone Jenner is coming back anytime soon. It's doubtful he gets 19 minutes a night, but starting low and ending up around 16 minutes a night within a few games seems at least a possibility.

Where things get complicated is heading into next season. Assuming Jenner is healthy, they could roll Jenner-Sillinger as their 1-2 down the middle, leaving Johnson as a 3C. That wouldn't be very good for his fantasy value. Perhaps he and Sillinger switch roles, and that would change the equation. What does seem likely is this will be a true meritocratic situation because Johnson/SIllinger/Roslovic are all expected to be part of the future. That leaves Jenner as the top-line pivot and the other three fighting for two roles.

As I've said repeatedly in prior columns, I am not a prospect guy. I rely on the observations of people I trust to largely for my opinion on any prospect. People that I read – here, The Athletic, Elite Prospects – all appear to have the outlook that if it all comes together for Johnson, he's a future superstar. Those are the types of players I target in fantasy because I believe in players being motivated to get better, given the financial upside of being a superstar, even in the NHL.

Just FYI: he was skating as a winger on a line with Justin Danforth and Oliver Bjorkstrand on Monday. He has played both the wing and center at various levels, so where they want to put him long-term is uncertain. Just something to keep an eye on, but if he were to stay on left wing, it could go a long wa