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In praise of Ryan Johansen

Dec 23, 2013, 1:29 PM EDT

RyanJohansen2 Getty Images

The star-studded 2010 NHL Entry Draft yielded a number of impact players — Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Jeff Skinner and Cam Fowler, to name a few.

Now you can add another name to that list: Ryan Johansen.

Taken fourth overall by Columbus, Johansen is in the midst of a breakout season. He’s already racked up 14 goals — more than John Tavares and Jonathan Toews — and leads all Blue Jackets skaters with 29 points.

“He’s starting to come into every game and believes he can dominate those games,” Columbus teammate Brandon Dubinsky told “He’s a big-bodied player who has the skill level of a little guy.

“He’s definitely starting to take over games more and more.”

Johansen, who goes 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, proved that takeover ability on a couple of occasions within the last week. He tore the Jets apart in the faceoff circle on Dec. 16, going 13-for-19 while finishing with an assist in a 3-2 loss, then popped a pair of goals and was named first star in Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Flyers.

Things didn’t always look so rosy for the 21-year-old, though.

The lockout-shortened ’13 campaign was a struggle — he was demoted to AHL Springfield mid-season — and the low point came when the Falcons made him a healthy scratch in the Calder Cup playoffs, a move approved by Jackets GM Jarmo Kekelainen.

“I think this is probably going to be a disappointment [to him], to say the least, maybe even a bit embarrassing,” the Jackets GM told the Columbus Dispatch. “Hopefully, he takes it the right way, gets to work this summer and shows us in the fall that he has taken it to heart and he’s ready to earn a spot on the [Blue Jackets].

“I don’t have any indication that he’d be unhappy. I really don’t care if he was unhappy.”

But with Johansen now starring for the Jackets, Kekalainen’s changed his tune.

“He’s just starting to realize the potential he has,” Kekalainen said. “The sky is the limit for [Johansen] with the size and skill he has, but there is so much more room for improvement even with the season he’s having.”

  1. jacketsfan7 - Dec 23, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    So proud , I got his autograph on my Ryan johansen jersey and it’s paying off!

  2. c9castine - Dec 23, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    picked him up a month ago in fantasy hes one of my best free agent finds. been scoring consistently all year.

    • peterjohnjoseph - Dec 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      Haha, I swear I was coming in here to say the same thing. I play a lot of one day fantasy games for cash, and I noticed he was factoring into almost every goal Columbus scored. This kid has won me some money since he’s so consistent. I took him on a whim on one of my regular fantasy teams a few months back after a Bruins game where he looked like a beast, figuring he might be a sleeper, and now he’s third in goals on my roster.

      But oh, yeah, in reality, he’s pretty awesome too.

  3. lowenni - Dec 23, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    This year’s Jakub Voracek. The kids always been good, this year he’s just been able to put it together and he’s been given the chance.

  4. canada2014gold - Dec 24, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Dam I honestly did not hear of this guy but I’m taking notice now. Blue jacket fans deserve him.

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