Tyler Johnson
Tyler Johnson
30-Year-Old CenterC
Tampa Bay Lightning
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Johnson is what he is -- a small, skilled forward who delivered one outstanding offensive season in the NHL. But that was way back in 2014-15. Since then, Johnson has delivered seasons of 38, 45, 50 and 47 points. He does have four seasons of at least 21 goals -- he even equaled his career high of 29 last year. But that barely put Johnson inside the top-50 goal scorer list, and he did it on the back of an unsustainable increase in shooting percentage. Johnson does have some fantasy value in deep leagues, but he'll likely be more valuable as a waiver grab if he goes on a streak. Read Past Outlooks
$Johnson re-signed with the Lightning on a seven-year, $35 million deal in July of 2017.
Good to go for Opening Night
CTampa Bay Lightning
October 2, 2019
Per coach Jon Cooper, Johnson (undisclosed) will draw into the lineup for Thursday's regular-season opener against Florida, Bryan Burns of the Lightning's official site reports.
Johnson was deemed day-to-day with an undisclosed injury earlier this week, but whatever he was dealing with clearly wasn't overly serious. The 30-year-old American is expected to center the Lightning's first line and top power-play unit until Brayden Point (hip) is cleared to return.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Johnson is a good little player. It's almost too bad that he put up 72 points as a sophomore, as he just can't live up to those expectations. Johnson is a solid, second-line right winger who delivered his second 50-point campaign in 2017-18. That seems to be his ceiling without Nikita Kucherov on his line and probably where he'll settle in 2018-19. Add on 175 shots and a role on the second power-play unit, and Johnson becomes a decent mid-round fantasy option.
Johnson rebounded a bit from an abysmal 2015-16, but he once again suffered through an injury-riddled season in 2016-17. His 45 points included 19 goals, but those tallies were still a long way from his 72-point breakout in 2014-15. It's safe to say that season was an exception, not the norm, but there's still hope for strong fantasy production for this little center. A healthy Tampa team would allow coach Jon Cooper to resurrect the Triplets Line (Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov) with more consistency. If so, Johnson will be a fantasy steal -- his production has taken a real hit with the kind of line-juggling he's seen in the last two seasons. If not, he'll be a 50-55-point pivot that still delivers on the power play. Johnson inked a seven-year extension this past summer that will keep him in Tampa until 2023-24. At best, he'll continue to rise like a phoenix and put his queasy 2015-16 behind him. At worst, Johnson may become the next Tyler Bozak. Keeper-leaguers beware.
The dynamic 26-year-old Johnson is coming off an injury-riddled season that saw his production drop to just 38 points in 69 games (down from 72 points in 77 games in 2014-15). But don't let those numbers fool you – Johnson is every bit an elite two-way NHL center, and the drop in points was purely temporary. He rebounded in the playoffs and delivered 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 17 games, good for second in team scoring. Johnson is the spark plug for the Bolts' Triplets Line – he, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat bring the perfect combination of speed, skill and tenacity to the ice. However, it's worth noting that this season could be the line's last one together – there's only so much cash to go around and Johnson could be squeezed out of town because of the big contract he'll warrant during next season's negotiations. The pending RFA will be out to prove he deserves a $5-6 million windfall, so expect a season much closer to 2014-15 than last year. Draft him early.
Johnson is the little engine that could -- and did. The 5-foot-8 pivot centered the Triplets Line for the Bolts last season, and he, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat quickly became the Bolts’ offensive engine, an arrangement that lasted into the playoffs. Johnson finished the season with 72 points (tied for 14th in the NHL) and was third overall in plus-minus (plus-33). The undersized, undrafted center even potted 29 goals, defying the ‘be big or don’t bother’ thinking of a lot of NHL teams. He’s a game-changer, so there is no reason to think he should take a step backward in 2015-16. In fact, the Triplets will probably continue terrorizing opposing teams for as long as the team can afford to keep them.
Johnson is an offensive dynamo in a very tiny package. This 5-foot-9 sparkplug earned a Calder nomination on the back of a 24-goal, 50-point season and looked every part a young Martin St. Louis. Unfortunately, he's unlikely to repeat his successes this season. Not only is a sophomore slump likely, but there's also the matter of determining his role. Johnson’s ice time shot up when Steven Stamkos was out of the lineup last season, which certainly helped his production. He had 19 points in 37 games when the Bolts captain was in the lineup, compared to 31 in 45 when he was out. Don't be surprised by a 40-point season, particularly if he slots in as the third-line center. Move that toward 50 if he earns a gig as a top-six winger.
Is Johnson the next Marty St. Louis? The Bolts sure hope so. Johnson is vertically challenged, but has elite sniping ability. He ran away with the AHL goal title this past season with 37 in just 62 games and could have come close to 45 (and won the overall scoring title) had he not played 14 games with the Bolts. He can play center and left wing, and it's the latter where he'll get his best chance at glory with the Bolts. He doesn't have Jonathan Drouin-like talent, but he knows how to play in all three zones. And his exploits last season made rookie hot shot, Cory Conacher, expendable. He and Alex Killorn will likely battle for the third-line left wing job in Tampa and that's a plum spot -- second-line winger, Ryan Malone, will be on the IR for at least 20 or 25 games, so opportunity will definitely knock. Watch him in camp -- he might be worth a last-round pick.
We like Johnson, don't get us wrong. But his hype machine is in overdrive right now and it's time to take a deep breath. His gifts are tremendous. He's lightning quick, great on the draw and in his own zone, abrasive, aggressive and offensively gifted. Now for the reality check. He's a 5-9 sparkplug who went undrafted before an explosive 53-goal, 115-point effort as an overager last season. Hockey pundits have a tendency to undervalue prolific overagers but maybe this kid is different. His pedigree does include two world junior tourneys, after all, where he was excellent as a checking line blanket. Keep an eye on him and hope that he bucks the trend.
More Fantasy News
Considered day-to-day
CTampa Bay Lightning
September 30, 2019
Johnson (undisclosed) is day-to-day heading into Opening Night versus the Panthers on Thursday, Bryan Burns of the Lightning's official site reports.
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Leaves with undisclosed injury
CTampa Bay Lightning
September 28, 2019
Johnson left Saturday's preseason matchup against the Panthers after the first period with an undisclosed injury, Erik Erlendsson of Lightning Insider reports.
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Gets pushed around by Jackets
CTampa Bay Lightning
April 17, 2019
Johnson fired just four shots and finished with one assist in four games in Tampa's four-game, opening-round series loss to Columbus.
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May be primed for playoff success
CTampa Bay Lightning
April 8, 2019
Johnson finished the season with 29 goals and 47 points in 80 games.
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Getting close to career goal mark
CTampa Bay Lightning
March 30, 2019
Johnson scored a goal Saturday in a 6-3 loss to Washington.
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