This award is voted on by the coaches, players, and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 member cities.
Johnson played in 60 games for the Crunch this season. In those games, he scored 33 goals and 27 assists for a total of 60 points. Those 33 goals put him in first place amongst the American Hockey League amongst goal scorers. He shares the top spot with Texas Stars LW Matt Fraser.
In addition to his 60 points, Johnson also has a plus-24 rating. He is quite strong on the Power Play as well. He has scored 12 times on the Power Play this season.
Johnson also played 14 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season. While in Tampa, he put on quite a show, putting up 3 goals and 3 assists for a total of 6 points.
The Syracuse Crunch has clinched a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs, and are currently in the running for the top spot in the Eastern Division. Before being called up to the AHL, Johnson and the Crunch went 37-17-2-4 on the season; however, once he was called up the Crunch were unable to continue that same streak as they went 4-4-4-1 without him.
It did not take long for the news to spread across the Twitterverse. After the announcement was made, Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper had this to say.
— Jon Cooper (@CoopersLaw) April 19, 2013
Soon after, the Tampa Bay Lightning tweeted out this response from Johnson about being awarded the Les Cunningham Award.
“It’s an award presented to an individual, but really it’s a team award, so I have to thank all of my teammates & my coaches” -Tyler Johnson
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 19, 2013
There are two other notable Lightning players that have been awarded this honor. The first of which was the Lightning’s very first captain, Paul Ysebaert, who won the award in the 1989-90 season. The second was former Lightning star rookie, Cory Conacher who was awarded the Les Cunningham Award for the 2011-12 season while with the Norfolk Admirals.
We here at Bolts By the Bay would like to congratulate Tyler Johnson on being named the AHL’s Most Valuable Player.
I know I have said this many times before, but I knew that Johnson would accomplish great things. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us in the Calder Cup Playoffs, and even next season. Who knows? We may see him in Lightning blue yet again. Only time will tell.