Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What to Expect From: Ryan Johansen

In this series, we're going to go through each player, examine what they have been able to produce in the past and what it would be reasonable to expect from them in the coming season, mostly using logic. The goal is to have a statistical expectation for the team as a whole, to see how well they might fare in 2012-13. This is an alternative to just throwing your hands up in the air, crying, drinking excessively (although this activity doesn't exclude drinking) and playing russian roulette alone in my basement all summer.

The ninth player in our series is well known to many who have been foolishly bullish on the CBJ for the past few years: Ryan Johansen.

The beast lurks in the shadows.
The first post I did for this (or any) blog was a few months ago and it was all about Johansen's development and trajectory. I'll refer you to it here, so as to not be redundant. To summarize, he's a former fourth overall pick, who is projected to have a ceiling somewhere around Joe Thornton (although realistically it's probably not that high). He's big and has some incredible tools at his disposal, but his birthday obviated the most sensible development pathway and he was stuck in the NHL last year getting fourth line minutes most nights, needing to put on weight to make his game more effective. He ended up getting scratched a lot of nights for reasons attributed to growing pains and lack of consistency in practice and in games.

more over the jump

Here are his stats from hockeydb:

Regular SeasonPlayoffs
2008-09Penticton VeesBCHL475121721104372
2009-10Portland WinterhawksWHL712544695317136121818
2010-11Portland WinterhawksWHL634052926444211315286
2011-12Columbus Blue JacketsNHL679122124-2----------
NHL Totals679122124

We can see that he was a prolific scorer in junior, in one of the tougher leagues at that. Last year he saw limited minutes in the games he dressed for and his effort wasn't always there. He totaled 9G, 12A over 67 games, although one has to wonder how many minutes he was on the ice, how that might change in the future and how his line mates might change next year. Considering he was often stuck with guys like Colton Gillies and Jared Boll, and with the departure of centers Pahlsson and Vermette, it's easy to predict that he will move up the depth chart, get better line mates and improve his stat lines. But by how much?

It's tough to predict this. Johansen's off season training regimen has been discussed online and most who saw the prospect camp saw that he hadn't been sitting around eating donuts and drinking beer all offseason. The last time he played a game he looked like he could have weighed 180 or 190 pounds (although reported just over 200), which simply will not cut it for a guy whose game revolves around not being knocked off the puck. The dispatch had him listed around 216 when he arrived for camp and although he looked a bit sluggish, his skill was still evident and his game speed has never been a real issue with him, so we'll see how Joey can carry the extra weight.

The other aspect that we have to watch with Johansen is his consistency. In the interview with Todd Richards where he talked about why Joey was scratched so often he seemed reluctant to point to anything specific, but did mention the issue of consistency both in practice and in games. I read this as "Joey is a lazy teenager, but we're hoping his attitude shapes up and he starts taking this shit seriously." His new dedication to offseason training could signal a deeper change and I'm hoping that's the case. Whatever is going on, it will end up rearing its head in Johansen's on-ice results (or lack thereof). His relationship with coach Richards and the rest of the team also seemed strained as a result of this "consistency" issue. If he shows up for camp and exhibition season and seems to be back to his old ways, he could find himself on a bus to western Massacheussetts.

When trying to come up with what we should expect for Joey in 2012-13, this much is clear; he should be in better shape and he knows he will need to be more consistent. Johansen will get more opportunities to showcase his substantial talent, which should include time on any of the top 3 lines (including the first line, if he shows well), power play time and he should see time with line mates who can make his job easier. The only downside is that he will probably face tougher competition from opposing teams. Taking these factors into consideration, it would be reasonable to expect a significant jump in statistical production, although how much of an improvement is a guessing game. I would say that with the increased opportunities and better training, he may be able to double his goal output to 20+ goals over 70+ games. He also has a strong passing game which has seen assist totals hovering a little above his goal output. PP time should continue this trend, so it would be reasonable to expect 25-30 assists for him.

Prediction for Ryan Johansen in 2012-13: 20G, 25A for 45 Pts.

I think he has more to show us and hopefully this will be the beginning of a greater trend. This probably isn't the most bullish estimate of his production but I'm trying to hedge based on the concerns that have surfaced about his work ethic.

"hey bud, does the back of my glove smell like chloroform?"

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