This couldn’t have come at a better time for the Blue Jackets and their fans. It won’t take long for Johansen to settle into the regular season.
Johansen a top line center with huge potential and has proven he can score goals. He finished first in points for the Jackets last year, scoring 33 goals and tallying 30 assists in 82 games.
Johansen will no doubt be the team’s anchor again this season. Now with the contract dispute dealt with, he can continue improving his skills and finding ways to help his teammates improve as well. He’ll easily reclaim his spot as center of the number one line. The question now becomes who gets to play along- side Johansen this season.
The organization certainly has several options to choose from. I’d love to see a top line of Johansen, Hartnell and Horton at some point this season. This would be a perfect line. All these guys have size, speed and a tremendous attacking mindset.
Hartnell isn’t afraid to crash the net and Horton could use the extra ice time to get back to his scoring ways. I hope the coaching staff will at least consider this as one of the team’s powerplay units moving forward.
These three guys will be the leaders of this team. Hartnell and Horton have several years of playoff experience and know how to react in high pressure situations. Johansen and the younger players will certainly benefit under their leadership. Plus Hartnell won’t be afraid to step up and defend his younger teammates if need be. I’m confident that if Horton can avoid injuries, he’ll tally at least 30 points or more this season.
Regardless, having Johansen resigned will give this team a huge boost heading into the regular season. This team has an incredible amount of depth within their roster. Guys like Nick Foligno, Artem Anisimov and Boone Jenner will be leaned on to provide secondary scoring options. Defenseman Jack Johnson will continue his role as anchor of the team’s defense and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will continue silencing teams and stealing wins.
There aren’t many weaknesses in this team and with Johansen leading the charge, there is no telling how far this team will go this year. With the talent they have available this team will easily finish in the top five of the Eastern Conference standings this season.