A little bit of a report out of Boston via Jimmy Murphy over at Boston Hockey Now that the Blackhawks may be shopping center Tyler Johnson. Trying to find that elusive second line center, the Boston Bruins could benefit from Johnson’s presence in the lineup. Here’s what Murphy wrote:
An NHL executive source has confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that the Chicago Blackhawks are letting it be known that center Tyler Johnson will be available on the NHL trade market…
…The Boston Bruins have constantly been linked to Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm in NHL trade rumors this season. Last week on ‘TSN Insider Trading‘ NHL insider Pierre LeBrun became the latest to link the Boston Bruins to the Flames’ potential 2024 unrestricted free agent. He also linked another Stanley Cup contender in the Colorado Avalanche.
Johnson has been one of several veterans vocal this year so Boston kicking tires on him would not be shocking. He has a championship pedigree and has seven goals on the season with a team struggling to generate offense.
Johnson was scratched for Saturday’s game, a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. When asked about Johnson the night before, head coach Luke Richardson didn’t see anything then outside of fatigue.
“Yeah, I think just probably at the end of the game, you’re tired,” Richardson said. “You’re extending yourself. Everybody was pushing at the end. It’s disappointing. But I haven’t heard anything yet from anybody. So as far as I know, we’re going to go after a win tomorrow.”
Johnson Has Been Consistent Contributor
Johnson had a tally during Chicago’s 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche, which stood as the game winner. He’s always had the knack for the net going back to his days with Tampa Bay and that contribution has fallen a bit since then, but he’s been solid for the Blackhawks. Often centering the second line, Johnson has also been a fixture on the power play and a vocal leader in the locker room.
One of the consistent themes Johnson has harped on is not making excuses–an important one with a team that has seen its fair share of hardships in the midst of a rebuild year.
“It’s tougher,” Johnson said when asked about the team fighting through injury. “I don’t think you should ever use that as an excuse. But we just have to realize that if guys go out, guys go down, other guys have to step up. We have to be–even moreso–structured so that it’s not so much individually it’s everyone to be together. That makes the game easier. I think when we realize that–when we play the right way–we’re a really good team.”
Murphy closed his report off by not seeing Johnson as the ideal fit in the end, and in a season where the Blackhawks have been besieged by injury, trading him now certainly doesn’t seem the best timing. But general manager Kyle Davidson’s job is to ensure the team is not only playing for now–but with an eye on the future as he tries to move them out of the rebuild.
Being in the final year of his deal, it wouldn’t be surprising for the Blackhawks to make a deal. If indeed Johnson ends up elsewhere, a team would certainly benefit from his leadership, and contribution.
It’s certainly another storyline to keep an eye on.