Reese Johnson is a fringe NHL player at best if you look at this skill level, size, and production. All of these attributes would be considered "average" at best by most fans of the Chicago Blackhawks. He is on the ice between 7 and 12 mins most games. He also has fluctuated between the NHL and AHL from 2020 to 2022. So why does it feel like we are going to be seeing him around for a few years?
Normally a 62 game sample size with only 9 points produced isn't enough for me to think that a player will be here for long. However on April 23rd the Blackhawks extended Johnson for another 2 seasons (800k AAV) as well will retain his RFA status after the 23-24 season.
That means that his cap hit will still be low despite being close to 26 years old. This should be his prime year in terms of ability. I've also noticed multiple coaches and players talk about him in interviews about being a great locker room guy as well as a vocal leader.
Then there are the fights. He is not shy. Throughout his career, the 6-1 193lb forward has shown he will not back down from anyone in a fight. He has always stuck up for his team in this regard as well, evidence by his retribution on Casey Cizikas (inset picture) for hitting netminder Alex Stalock (injured still from this).
No, Reese Johnson isn't a useful middle 6 or a player with untapped potential. He is exactly what we see out there: a tough forward that loves competing. Johnson will not back down from anyone and always has his team's back. This is a bottom 6 line-flexible forward that is cost efficient and still young. Another team wouldn't offer more than a late round pick for him either. All of these reasons make it seem like Reese Johnson isn't going anywhere.