The Columbus Blue Jackets drafted Ryan Johansen fourth overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, but it wasn't until the 2013-14 season that the 22-year-old center finally delivered. It took some time, but Johansen seems to have been worth that pick. It took more time for Johansen to work out his contract, but like his draft selection, the wait will be worth it if you've already drafted him on your fantasy team.
Now the question is, what can owners expect from the talented Johansen?
Johansen finished his first full NHL season in 2013-14 with 33 goals, 30 assists, a plus-3 rating, 43 penalty minutes, 20 power play points and 237 shots on goal in 82 games. He was the 38th-most valuable fantasy player in Yahoo leagues, and proved to be arguably the biggest breakout player of the season.
Coming into the 2014-15 season with his contract status still undetermined, NHL.com fantasy insiders ranked Johansen as high as 41st overall and as low as 67th back on September 1. At the moment, he is currently being drafted on average in the seventh round at pick No. 72.7. Clearly, fantasy owners have been getting a discount on him due to his contract holdup. That number will change now.
Last season Jaroslav Halak was the St. Louis Blues' starting goalie on opening night. By the time their run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs ended with a six-game series defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks, it was NHL Trade Deadline acquisition Ryan Miller between the pipes for the Blues. Each of these big-name goaltenders is now out of St. Louis (Halak signed with the New York Islanders and Miller signed with the Vancouver Canucks).
As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. And that's exactly the case with the Blues.
One of the most intriguing goalie dilemmas heading into the 2014-15 NHL season lies in the Gateway City, where veteran backup Brian Elliott and up-and-comer Jake Allen will attempt to grab the No. 1 job for the Blues.
What a way to kick off the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline. Two captains swap locations with Martin St. Louis going to the New York Rangers and Ryan Callahan headed to the Tampa Bay Lighting. Can the day's opening trade get any more dramatic than this one? Probably not.
What does this mean for St. Louis fantasy owners?
Prior to the trade St. Louis was the 20th ranked player in Yahoo fantasy leagues and I had him ranked 14th among my top 100 forwards. In 62 games, the former Lightning captain had 29 goals, 61 points, a plus-12 rating, six penalty minutes, 18 power play-points and 167 shots on goal.
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[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.