The Columbus Blue Jackets scored a huge win for their playoff hopes on Tuesday, when they shut out the San Jose Sharks 4-0. Not only did they get great performances from goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and newly-acquired winger Marian Gaborik, but the Blue Jackets also got a goal from Ryan Johansen. The promising young center has been quiet for most of the season, but has now scored twice in the last six games.
Johansen’s goal against the Sharks came while he was playing with Gaborik and Vinny Prospal. While he has spent most of the season on the third line, a jump to the top line could have an immediate impact on his production. Johansen scored nine goals and had 21 points for the Blue Jackets last season while appearing in 67 games. During the lockout, he scored 17 goals and had 33 points for the Springfield Falcons in the AHL. The Blue Jackets have considered Johansen to be one of their top prospects since drafting him fourth overall in the 2010 draft, and he could be a big part of the team’s rebuilding process if he can find his scoring touch consistently. In his final WHL season Johansen had 40 goals and 92 points for the Portland Winterhawks, and while he faces lofty expectations at the NHL level, it is important to remember he is only 20 years old and still has tremendous upside.
The Blue Jackets sit two points out of a playoff spot with eight games remaining, and could use a strong contribution from Johansen and the rest of their offense down the stretch.