3 – Ryan Johnson, D
Barring something unforeseen, Ryan Johnson is slated to take the ice tonight and his play from Sunday served as the inspiration for this piece. Johnson was a standout last Sunday in the Buffalo Sabres win over the Washington Capitals, and if he keeps it up in tonight’s contest against the Maple Leafs, it’s all but a lock that he will be the top blueliner in Rochester this season.
His instincts led him to the puck numerous times last Sunday, much like it did during the Prospects Challenge. He was either breaking up plays, or if he couldn’t get to the puck carrier, Johnson had no problem skating in front of a shooting lane to block an incoming puck.
Johnson’s defensive game isn’t the most physical, but he’s a showstopper in his own right. I won’t get too bold on a prediction for this evening, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Johnson blocked at least a trio of shots and logged a takeaway or two.
(Statistics provided by Natural Stat Trick)