The Blue Jackets roster just got a whole lot craftier.
Kent Johnson, the No. 5 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, is expected to make his NHL debut tonight when the Blue Jackets go head-to-head with the Canadiens.
The 19-year-old forward spent this season with Michigan in the NCAA, helping the team to a Big Ten championship as well as a Frozen Four appearance. The team fell in the national semifinals 3-2 in overtime to Denver.
The Blue Jackets have exceeded expectations this year, but are still outside of the playoff picture. Johnson will be able to play the last few remaining games on the schedule to get a feel of what playing at the top level in hockey is like.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of Johnson’s Blue Jackets debut tonight.
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How to watch Kent Johnson’s debut
- Date: Wednesday, April 13
- Time: 7 pm ET
The Blue Jackets-Canadiens game can be streamed on ESPN + in the United States.
For Canadian viewers, the game will be broadcast live on Sportsnet, as well as available to stream on Sportsnet NOW or the Sportsnet app.
How did Kent Johnson do with Michigan this season?
After averaging over a point per game his freshman year, Johnson followed it up with another impressive showing with Michigan this season. The shifty winger tied Owen Power for the most assists on the team with 29, while finishing in a tie for fourth in points with 37.
His points placed him fifth in the Big Ten, but his 1.16 points per game output was good enough to tie with fellow Wolverine Matty Beniers for second in the conference. In total, Johnson ended his Michigan career with 17 goals, 47 assists and 64 points in 58 games.
The native of Port Moody, BC also played for Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics, recording five points in five games.
What does Kent Johnson bring to the Blue Jackets?
The Blue Jackets prospect owns some of the silkiest mitts you’ll mind. Johnson has an uncanny ability to deke around defenders, not afraid to go through them rather than around them.
He’s strong with the puck on his stick and is able to read the body language of defenders to get his way by them. Johnson is smart enough to know when to dish the puck to one of his teammates rather than try for an extra move.
Despite all of his skill, Johnson is more known as a distributor rather than a goal scorer. He’ll make for a great offensive weapon on a Blue Jackets team in need of some creativity.
Who will Kent Johnson play with?
At the Blue Jackets’ practices on Monday and Tuesday, Johnson skated on the left wing on a line with Justin Danforth and Oliver Bjorkstrand.
Johnson also saw time in practice on the second power-play unit.
Kent Johnson contract details
Power and the Sabers agreed to a three-year, $ 5.55 million entry-level contract on April 8. The contract carries an AAV of $ 1.85 million with a cap hit of $ 925,000 each year.
He’ll be a restricted free agent after the 2023-24 season.