The Buffalo Sabres must be grateful that Ryan Johnson decided to sign with them earlier in the calendar year, and he’s been nothing but fantastic.
The Buffalo Sabres may have lost 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Ryan Johnson was sensational tonight. And if you want the rundown from what I saw, just check out my notes on the former first-round pick throughout the contest:
- Johnson: Good stick work, and good pass to Peterka
- Johnson, interception at the 14:00 to-go mark of the first
- Johnson, INCREDIBLE EFFORT on the PK, at the 8:00 to-go mark
- Johnson, nice puck protection – early second period
- Johnson, way to wrap them up along the boards
- What a stick, Ryan Johnson – 9:30 to go in the third period mark
And there were a few more plays that I didn’t take note of, but you get the gist. Johnson, whose stock was already skyrocketing, showed off impressive stick-handling and puck control, he skated well, protected the puck, and best yet, he drove it up the ice with relative ease.
Buffalo Sabres prospect Ryan Johnson is NHL-ready, but….
It’s clear that Ryan Johnson is NHL-ready, as he enjoyed yet another remarkable performance against what was an NHL-caliber lineup while his own lacked such talent and experience. But, there is one caveat that could put Johnson into the AHL.
You know I’m an optimist, but I’m also a realist, and Ryan Johnson has never played over 54 regular season games. We don’t know what he will look like when the Buffalo Sabres find themselves in the thick of the playoff race after, oh, I don’t know, about 54 games. If the Blue and Gold add Johnson to their lineup, they are taking quite the risk.
Johnson’s performance against a highly talented Pittsburgh Penguins team confirmed his skill-set is NHL-ready. But just because you’re NHL-ready from a skills standpoint, doesn’t mean you’re quite ready from an intangibles standpoint. And that’s something that leads me to predict that Johnson will probably wind up in Rochester.
(Information provided by Elite Prospects)