This is Tyler Johnson.
Johnson was an undrafted free agent who may be the biggest steal in the NHL in the past couple of decades.
If you’re unfamiliar with Johnson…here’s a bit of info:
2009-10: Johnson was the second-leading goal scorer for WHL Spokane and participated in his second world junior tournament. Johnson scored 36 goals with 35 assists and was +14 with 32 PMs on a Chiefs team that finished two points behind US Division champion and WHL playoff runner-up Tri-City. He scored 11 of his 36 goals on the power play. In seven playoff goes he scored 3 goals with 5 assists and was -1. Johnson scored 3 goals with 2 assists and was +4 with 25 PMs in seven games for gold medal-winning USA at the 2010 U20 World Junior Championship.
2010-11: Johnson skated for the Minnesota Wild in the Traverse City tournament and attended Wild camp but was not signed to a contract and returned to Spokane for an over-age season. Johnson led the WHL with 53 goals and was named to the WHL First All-Star team as a 20-year-old. In 71 games with the Chiefs he was +27 and had 62 assists. His 115 points were one behind WHL-leader Linden Vey (LAK). In fourteen playoff games for the Chiefs he scored 7 goals with 7 assists and was +3 with 9 PMs. Johnson signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Tampa Bay in March, 2011.
2011-12: Johnson was the third-leading scorer for the Lightning’s AHL affiliate in Norfolk in his first pro season. He scored 31 goals with 37 assists and was plus-17 with 28 penalty minutes in 75 games. The Admirals captured the AHL’s Calder Cup championship in the playoffs after finishing first in the East Division. Johnson had 6 goals with 8 assists in 14 playoff games and was plus-eight with 6 penalty minutes.
2012-13: Johnson made his NHL debut with the Lightning in March after leading Tampa Bay AHL affiliate Syracuse in scoring in his second pro season. Johnson provided a spark to the offense, scoring 3 goals with 3 assists and finishing +3 with 4 penalty minutes in 14 games with Tampa Bay. In 62 games for Syracuse he scored 37 goals with 28 assists and was +26 with 34 penalty minutes. The Crunch finished first in the East Division and reached the AHL Finals against Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids.
Johnson went undrafted because of his size…5’8″ 165…and is making 29 NHL General Managers looking like fools because he leads the NHL 5V5 P/60 with 3.15
I’ve always thought the measure of a player is how effective he is at even strength.
There are some players who feast on the power play but those points are subject to the vicissitudes of power play opportunities and success which goes up and down like a widow’s nightdress.
Now, when you consider that Johnson’s line mates Andrej Palat (2.96) and Nikita Kucherov (2.95) are 3RD and 4TH in the league at evens, it’s no wonder the Lightning are one of the best teams in the league.
Looking over the top 25…a few names stand out…some for who is on the list and some who aren’t.
Rick Nash has been a beast this year at 3.09 and seeing Vladimir Tarasenko (2.83) in 6th spot portends his future superstardom.
The Dallas Stars have 2 players, Jamie Benn (2.58) and Tyler Seguin (2.48) in the top 25 so, if the Stars ever sort out their goaltending, they’ll be tough to beat.
But perhaps the most surprising name on the list is Jiri Hudler (2.68) in 8th place. Hudler is having a fantastic season mentoring two young players in Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau and was actually the league’s leading scorer in the month of March edging out the Canucks Radim Vrbata.
For the Oiler fans who frequent these parts…the news is dreadful.
The Oilers best even strength scorer is Benoit Pouliot at 2.14 (63rd on the list) while Taylor Hall (1.99), Jordan Eberle (1.89) and Ryan Nugent Hopkins (1.85) are not scoring anywhere near the rate their draft pedigree would warrant.
It’s no surprise that the Oilers are 26th in the league in GF/G.