Where to start with this guy. I for one was his biggest fan to start the season, and still would gladly get a Johnson #10 jersey but the man’s stock has been falling and on a bottom six that is under the microscope of every arm chair GM and Canucks fan his play has stood out even more, for the wrong reasons. Granted due to his shot blocking antics he has missed games due to injury, there’s something else up with RyJo this season.
I think simply put RyJo has lost some of his mojo. I’m not sure how else to word it. He’s looked out of sync now for the better part of the season and with the bottom six getting so much attention from everyone due to their inconsistent and sub par play when he has been in the lineup he’s not standing out as the 4th line center he stood out as last year.
For a guy who doesn’t bring a lot of offence, as a role player he becomes even more important because if he’s not playing his role he’s not doing very much for the team. On a penalty kill that Ryan Johnson was once the staple of has now been identified as Kesler and Burrows’ and on that same penalty kill that has struggled the role of Ryan Johnson has stood out even more due to his lack of, well anything.
Since coming from St. Louis he’s seen his offensive numbers dip considerably, and this season through 40 games has a whopping 10 shots. He’s looked out of sync on a fourth line that has been host to under achievers like Hordichuk, and a rotating Bernier who’s seen time on both lines in the bottom six. Johnson’s still trying to block shots, but you have to imagine that the 33 year old’s body is catching up to his game. With the likes of Burrows and Kesler who are becoming regular shot blockers, Johnson’s got to try and fall back into sync. He just doesn’t look like the same player he did last year and after about 60 games it’s time to start noticing.
Johnson’s gone from 80+ shots a season but two years ago, to exactly 10 this year. He takes the second most faceoffs on the team. His faceoff number are up, but that’s of little consolation when he’s expected to be one of the more consistent players on the bottom six. Johnson, as a package, comes as a shot blocking, grinding, gritty, penalty killing specialist. So far apart from his faceoffs won this year he’s struggled and the only plausible conclusion seems to be that his body is finally catching up with him. It’s pretty clear that this season is going to see a revamped bottom six and with the guy a free agent this off season I wouldn’t be surprised if he was gone.
RyJo plays a risky kind of hockey, he’s gutsy, ballsy, and plain stupid with some of the blocks he makes (I watched him at GM Place dive head first to block a shot in an earlier game this season against Detroit). He’s a player that has little else to offer the team and and out of step Johnson, on an underachieving and under performing bottom six is reason for second thought.