Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ryan Johansen Jersey Card

After holding out in training camp in a game of chicken against the Columbus Blue Jackets, I was almost planning on rooting against Ryan Johansen this year, but he came to reason with his contract demands and then proceeded with what he does best: play hockey. Very well.

At 22 years old, he has 17 goals and 43 points in 45 games so far with the injury-depleted Jackets this year, after leading the team in points last season. He even made the All-Star Game this year, and proceeded to steal the show at the Breakaway Skills Competition.

As it stands now, he's got a good enough hockey sense to be used on the penalty kill (an impressive feat at that young an age), and his speed, passing ability and good shot make him a very good first-line center on a decent team, but once he grows more comfortable and experienced with his 6'3'', 220-pound frame and starts knocking people over, he might even become dominant.

Perhaps not on the level of Evgeni Malkin, who's been there from his first season and might have a decade of it left in him, but probably on a level comparable to that of Eric Lindros, Keith Primeau, and Eric Staal - a very good run.

He already has a silver medal with Team Canada from the World Juniors (2011), but my guess is he'll play in the Olympics before long (provided the NHL keeps sending its players), the World Cup, and maybe a few World Championships in the years where the Jackets fail to reach the playoffs in what is already a very difficult division in the NHL.

I landed on this card last year, showing him in the Jackets' white (away) uniform, with matching dual jersey swatches, each with stitching:

It's card #TS-RJ of Upper Deck's 2013-14 Artifacts set, part of the Treasured Swatches sub-set.

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