Tampa Bay Lightning Year In Review: Tyler Johnson

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

As the Tampa Bay Lightning prepare themselves for the upcoming season, let’s take one final look at the 2015-16 season of Lightning forward Tyler Johnson.

The moment Tampa Bay Lightning fans have been waiting on the edge of their seats for is finally about to arrive. In just nine more days, the Lightning will charge into the Amalie Arena here in Tampa to take on one of their Atlantic Division rivals, the Detroit Red Wings, in the Lightning Home Opener.

There is no denying the off-season has been a turbulent one; however, looking back over the course of the last few months, things really have turned out in the Lightning’s favor.

When the off-season started, Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman had a pretty big stack of contracts sitting on his desk just waiting to be extended. Things may have gotten off to a bumpy start, but for the most part, Yzerman has been able to seal the deals and build a long-term core.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

Unfortunately, there is still one piece to the puzzle missing. The thing is, this is not the story we are looking at today. Today, we are going to take a look at one of the aforementioned player’s linemates, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson.

The 2015-16 season was not what one would call normal in terms of a player like Tyler Johnson. The good news is, at the end of the day, Johnson was still able to show a glimmer of the Johnson we’ve come to know and love despite the obstacles strewn in his path.

Thanks to a series of injuries, Johnson was only able to play in a total of 69 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015-16 regular season. In that amount of time, Johnson would bring home 14 goals and 24 assists for a total of 38 points along with a plus-4 rating.

These numbers are definitely down from the 72 points Tyler Johnson registered in the 2014-15 season, but a series of unpleasant injuries will do that to even the best players in the world.

Thankfully, much like his linemate Nikita Kucherov, Johnson’s production did not end along with the regular season. The 26-year-old Spokane native played in all 17 postseason games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015-16 season. In that amount of time, Johnson brought home seven goals and 10 assists for a total of 17 points.

The aforementioned numbers placed Johnson in first place on the team in terms of assists and second place in goals and overall points. As you can imagine, the only player to top Johnson in the two post-season categories was his linemate Nikita Kucherov.

Tyler Johnson, along with Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, forms one of the most dangerous lines in the Lightning’s arsenal. As we have mentioned many times before, the chemistry between these three players is nothing short of uncanny. Some could be led to believe the trio can read each other’s minds.

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Unfortunately, depending on what happens over the course of the next few weeks, this chemistry they have built may be put to the test. Steve Yzerman hoped to have Kucherov signed to a new deal by the time he returned from representing his native Russia at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, but this has yet to come into fruition.

In fact, in a statement through his agent, Kucherov stated he has elected to not report to Training Camp until a new deal is in place. Should these two sides not come to some sort of agreement before the start of the season, Johnson and Palat could find themselves with a new linemate.

Of course, all of this is conjecture at this point. There is still plenty of time to get a deal worked out, and if there is anybody in the National Hockey League capable of getting the job done, it’s Steve Yzerman.

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Since making his way here to the Bolts Nation in the 2012-13 season, after helping the Lightning’s then-American Hockey League affiliate Norfolk Admirals win the Calder Cup, he has continually set the bar for other players. Here’s hoping his success in front of the net continues into the 2016-17 season.