2021 Columbus Blue Jackets first round draft pick (5 overall) Kent Johnson is set to make his debut tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadians. Having just ended his college career at the University of Michigan, Johnson looks to show why the Blue Jackets drafted him so high. He is a high end player who has the elite skill to make an impact at the NHL level.
Blazing speed, check. Offensively fearlessness, check. Solid defensively, check. Kent Johnson is a well rounded player. Playing on the wing, Johnson projects as a very good two-way center at the NHL level. That said the Columbus Blue Jackets will bring him along slowly and start him on the wing.
Some fans were upset the Blue Jackets signed Johnson to his entry level contract (ELC) only to bring him up the final seven games to burn through one year of the contract. I actually side with the Blue Jackets on this one. You see had Kent Johnson not gone back to Michigan he would have been in Columbus. He is simply to good for the minor leagues.
Johnson is a very strong skater has top end speed and is a nightmare matchup. He is fearless in his playmaking and is not afraid to try things. His passes are as good as any of the top NHL players.
Johnson has a full understanding of his responsibilities in the defensive end and is not shy about getting into the mix and fight for the puck. While his goal scoring still needs some work there is little question he will make himself a scoring threat.
Seven games is somewhat of a tease heading into the offseason. Johnson needs to add some weight which is probably going to be on his summer to-do list. Still Columbus Blue Jacket fans should be very excited Johnson should enter next season as a favorite to win the Calder Trophy next season.