Of all the things that were going right for the Tampa Bay Lightning to begin 2017-18, Tyler Johnson wasn’t exactly lighting the NHL on fire. Through the first 25 games of the season, Johnson managed a mere four goals and seven assists for 11 points. That’s not disastrous, but it didn’t exactly inspire confidence in the seven-year, $35 million contract he recently signed. Perhaps that deal will still come back to haunt the Lightning (maybe when it comes to giving Nikita Kucherov his future, well-deserved raise), but it turns out that Tuesday’s hat trick merely put an exclamation point on what might be a revitalizing season for Johnson. It’s easy to lose track of such things when Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy are conquesting like Alexander the Great, yet it’s true. Johnson’s been electric in his own right. In the past 17 games, Johnson’s generated 12 goals and 11 assists for a whopping 23 points. He’s been hot lately, as that hat trick helped him put together five points in his last three games, but Johnson’s best stretch basically came down to, essentially, a month-long, 12-game point streak (eight goals, 10 assists). With all of that in mind, Johnson’s lining up one of the best seasons of his career. He already has 34 points in 42 games this season, putting him close to matching his totals from two tough recent campaigns (45 points in 2016-17, 38 in 2015-16). In those cases, he was unable to hit 70 regular-season games played. His best work, far away, came in 2014-15, when he scored 72 points in 77 games and was sensational in the playoffs.
Tyler Johnson’s revival is latest reason to fear the Lightning
Pro Hockey Talk | Jan 10