Shocked is not exactly a word that I would use to describe Tyler Johnson receiving this distinction.
Last season, 5’10” 183 pound Washington native led the American Hockey League during the regular season in goals scored with 37. He also accumulated 28 assists during the regular season for a total of 65 points.
Johnson made his NHL debut this season with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the 14 games he played for the Bolts, he scored 3 goals and 3 assists for a total of 6 points along with a plus-3 rating. All this, and he only served 4 minutes in the penalty box.
Now, I want you to think about this for a minute. Tyler Johnson left the AHL for 14 games during the regular season to play with the Lightning, and he still led the AHL in goals scored for the season. That speaks volumes about the 22 year old center.
During the Calder Cup Playoffs last season, Johnson ranked 4th in the AHL for goals scored, topped only by Tomas Tatar and Jan Mursak of the Grand Rapids Griffins, and Mark Arcobello of the Oklahoma City Barons.
In the post-season, Johnson scored 10 goals and 11 assists for a total of 21 points with a plus-12 rating.
Last season, Johnson was also recognized as the winner of the Les Cunningham Award. The Les Cunningham Award is presented to the AHL’s Most Valuable Player as voted on by coaches, players, and members of the media from all 30 of the league’s member cities.
One can only assume that with his skill we will see him in the National Hockey League on a more permanent basis sooner rather than later. We already know that he fits right in with the Bolts system, so it would be a logical move for him to make the jump sometime in the near future.
Whether this jump will happen this season or not remains to be seen, but I can assure you that when it does, we are in for a treat.
What do you think of the Crunch center’s accomplishments over the course of last season? Do you think he can pull out a repeat in the 2013-14 season?