Tyler Johnson: The Forgotten Comeback
Tyler Johnson is a cup winning 5'8 winger that orginally went undrafted and worked his way up to earn a 7 year / 35 million dollar contract from Tampa Bay. He doesn't have anything left to prove at 32 years old.
Pride, on one hand, won't let him play out the remainder of his $5 million cap hit and ride out into the sunset with money in hand and 2 Stanley Cup championship rings on his hand. Injuries and a trade have played a big part in the time missed since his cup winning days. He has had surgery and it appears that his play has returned as the Spokane native is almost back to his 50 point per 82 game pace he once was at (49.2 projected, 3x 50+ points in career).
With a year remaining on his deal and an expected return to a top 6 role for the 2023-2024 season, I expect Tyler Johnson to be one of the leading scorers next year. Could a 33 year old 2x cup winning veteran on a similar 50 point pace be of interest as a playoff rental to a playoff team next trade deadline? What if we, again, paid 50% of his cap hit making him a 2.5m top 9 to a cup contender? Is that worth a 2nd rounder (making it two 2nd rounders paid to us just to have his cap hit) ?
I am a Blackhawks' fan, in the beginning / middle of our rebuild, that is always looking at value / asset management. Tyler Johnson and his recent play should not be overlooked as an asset in 11 months time. I commend Johnson for his determination and play this season and for having come back from ADR surgery (same surgery that Jack Eichel had) to show our young players just how to persevere.