A look at the career of Penticton alumnus Ryan Johansen


Before joining the Penticton Vees, Ryan Johansen played minor hockey with the Port Moody Amateur Hockey Association and U18 with the Vancouver NE Chiefs. 

Making the four-and-a-half-hour drive northwest in 2008, Johansen joined the Vees, who just came off a Fred Page Cup the season before. A force in his minor hockey days, Johansen was poised to take the next step in his junior career.

The Port Moody native spent just one season in the Peach City as a 16-year-old. He played 47 games and struggled to put the puck in the net with just five goals and 12 assists for 17 points. However, in the post-season, Johansen notched seven points in ten games. 

After the 2008-09 season, Johansen joined the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League and spent two seasons in Oregon. In his first season in the WHL, Johansen was just shy of a point-per-game, registering 25 goals and 44 assists in 71 games. He added another 18 points in the playoffs.

His first season in the WHL was also Johansen’s draft year. His stock shot up during the 2009-10 season and he was selected for the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game. 

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The summer of 2010 was a busy one for Johansen. He headed to Hollywood in June for the NHL Draft, which was hosted by the Los Angeles Kings. Johansen didn’t wait long for his name to be called by the Columbus Blue Jackets, who took him with the fourth pick overall.

Despite being the fourth pick, the Jackets sent Johansen back to the WHL to season a little more, where he went on to play 63 games. 

Johansen put the league and Canada’s coaching staff for the World Junior Championships on notice en route to scoring 40 goals and 92 points. After missing the World Juniors the year before, Johansen was a big part of Canada reaching the gold medal game before losing to Russia.

Silver wasn’t the medal Johansen wanted, but he finished a strong campaign by leading the WHL in playoff points and was named to the First All-Star Team.

Welcome to the Show

The following season, Johansen made his professional debut. During his rookie year, he scored nine goals and 21 points in 67 games for Columbus. Overall, it wasn’t a productive year for the 2010 fourth overall pick.

The 2012-13 season started with the NHL locking out their players. Johansen started the season in the minors and was recalled in February 2013, a month into the new NHL season. The year concluded with Johansen splitting 80 games between the American Hockey League and NHL.

2013-14 saw Johansen take a big step, becoming a full-time top centre and playing in a full 82 game schedule for the first time in his pro career. In his third season in Columbus, Johansen became a 30-plus goal scorer and added 30 assists along the way. It was indeed a breakout campaign for the young centre.

In his fourth season in the Show, Johansen registered 71 points in 82 games and was named to the NHL All-Star Game and was named game MVP. Despite a stellar season, Johansen and the Blue Jackets missed the postseason for the third time in his four seasons.

With six goals and 20 assists to start the 2015-16 season, rumours swirled around Johansen, and in January 2016, the Blue Jackets pulled the trigger and traded Johansen to the Nashville Predators for Seth Jones in a classic one-for-one swap. Johansen finished the season in Nashville with 34 points in 42 games while adding another eight points in the playoffs. 

In his first full season in Music City, he recorded 61 points in 82 games to help the Predators make the playoffs. Having a remarkable postseason run, Johansen played in the first two rounds before suffering from acute compartment syndrome in his left thigh during the Western Conference finals.

His postseason was finished with 13 points in 14 games, while his teammates fought for the Stanley Cup before losing to Sidney Crosby-led Pittsburgh Penguins. 

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Johansen’s point totals have gone on a bit of a roller-coaster ride over the past few seasons. However, he is still productive in Smashville with 176 points in 275 games since coming back from his thigh surgery in 2017.

Overall, Johansen has earned himself a solid NHL career thus far and 2021-22 is the fifth year of an eight-year, $8-million per season contract he signed in July 2017.