Ryan Johansen grew up a Vancouver Canucks fan and has since grown up in many ways. Although likely an unfair first impression, speaking to him a decade ago at rookie camp with the Columbus Blue Jackets he seemed somewhat cocky and maybe a bit aloof. Then again he was 18-years-old and more than likely it was just nerves.
Fast forward through age, experience, and maturity and Johansen’s become rather loquacious, a veteran presence on a .500 Nashville Predators club finding its way.
Tonight his club takes on his hometown Vancouver Canucks at the Rogers Arena.
The 6’3″, 220 pound top-six centerman begins his 11th NHL season with eight points in ten games. He’s 28 points away from 500 for his career. We talk about growing up in Vancouver, growing up as a player, his 36% shooting percentage, scouting the Vancouver Canucks, and his bulldog “Dozer”. It’s “Simmer’s Morning Skate” with Ryan Johansen. As usual, we pack in a lot in under five minutes.
Johansen won a British Columbia provincial pee wee championship with his team from Port Moody after starting his youth hockey with the Vancouver Thunderbirds. He later played for the North East Chiefs in the British Columbia Major Midget Junior League.
He’d eventually represent Canada at the World Junior Championship in 2011 and help the team to a Silver Medal in Buffalo, New York. It was the year Canada lost to Russia 5-3 in the Gold Medal game. He was playing for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League at the time. Previous to that he was drafted fourth overall in the 2010 NHL Draft after one season with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL.
The Predators will see the Vancouver Canucks on two more occasions, on January 18th and February 1st, both times in Tennessee.
Juuse Saros and Thatcher Demko are expected to start in net this evening for the Predators and Canucks respectively.