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Arpon Basu: “The case of Kent Johnson in Columbus intrigues me”.
Credit: Photo by Kirk Irwin/NHLI via Getty Images
Kent Johnson had a tough season.

He seems to have fallen victim to the second-year jinx: he collected 16 points in 42 games with the Blue Jackets, whereas he had finished his first full NHL season with a production of 40 points in 79 games.

Johnson even took a turn in the AHL (he played 10 games with the Cleveland Monsters), because the Jackets weren’t satisfied with his work. He was not in the good graces of Pascal Vincent, who was in his first season at the helm of the club as head coach.

To make matters worse, the 21-year-old saw his season come to an end in early March due to a serious shoulder injury.

Johnson underwent (successful) surgery and should be ready for the start of the next training camp.

I mention Kent Johnson because right now, all the experts and fans are trying to identify the next target for Kent Hughes and the Habs.

We’ve talked about the possibility of Hughes’ interest in him in the past, and it seems that lately, the discussion comes up less often…

But Arpon Basu brought the issue up again today in a radio column (BPM Sports).

The journalist – if he were Kent Hughes – would call Don Waddell to inquire about his availability:

It’s a call I’d make to see where the Blue Jackets are with that player. – Arpon Basu

We are, after all, talking about a guy who was drafted 5th overall in 2021… And the talent is coming out of both his ears:

Kent Johnson isn’t the strongest player in the NHL at 178 pounds… But he’s not small either, because he’s still six feet tall.

We know that Kent Hughes wants to expand his roster for next season, and we also know that the goal is to add an offensive player to the line-up.

The player who belongs to the Blue Jackets ticks that box, and with the skills he possesses, it looks like it would be interesting to see him play alongside a big guy who can create space like Kirby Dach on the second unit.

  • Caufield – Suzuki – Slaf
  • Newhook – Dach – Johnson
I like the potential of these two lines.

The first has already proved its worth… And with all the talent on the second, it makes for an interesting mix on paper.

Newhook is fast, Johnson has hands and offensive talent, and Kirby Dach does a bit of everything on the ice.

Getting Kent Johnson out of Columbus could be costly. On the other hand… Don Waddell didn’t draft him, as he’s just been hired as Columbus’ GM.

What I’m saying is that Waddell doesn’t feel he belongs with Kent Johnson. And for that reason, I think it could help Kent Hughes negotiate with the former Hurricanes GM.

In gusto

– Cool!

Maybe Kent Hughes should offer him a contract… Hehe.

– It’s starting to make a lot of noise.

– Spoil yourself!

– Nice line-up.

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