11 for 6: Ryan Johansen

Today's entry brings to a close our 11 for 6 series on the eleven draft prospects we feel are most likely to go to the Lightning at the sixth overall pick. Just as a reminder, BoltProspects will be holding its annual draft chat on Friday and Saturday over the course of the two days of the draft in the BoltProspects message board chat room. Registration for the message board is free and will get you access to the chat room, so if you aren't already signed up for the BoltProspects message board, you might want to get that out of the way today to be ready for Friday night.

In addition, don't forget to check back with BoltProspects and with the BoltProspects Twitter page over the course of the week for the latest draft news and rumors. Finally, as a part of draft week coverage, BoltProspects will be issuing its own first round mock draft later this week. It's one of our favorite times of the year on BoltProspects so be sure to check back often to stay informed with what's going on.

Name: Ryan Johansen
Position: Center
Shoots: Right
Height: 6.02
Weight: 192
Born: 7/31/92, Port Moody, BC
Last Team: Portland (WHL)
Rankings: CSS 10 (NA Skaters), ISS 17 (Skaters), RLR 9 (Overall), THN 12 (Overall)

2009-2010 Statistics:
Portland (WHL), 71 GP, 25-44-69, +17, 53 PIM
Portland (WHL) Playoffs, 13 GP, 6-12-18, +3, 18 PIM

In political polling there’s a term: “trend lines.” The candidate whose poll numbers go up relative to the previous month’s polls is said to have the trend lines going in the right direction, and in a close race the candidate with the positive trend lines tends to win at the end. Ryan Johansen’s had positive trend lines all season, and it would not at all be surprising to see the centerman go in the top eight picks of this draft. Unlike the up and down stock of the majority of his contemporaries, Johansen’s has been on a steady upward climb. The lanky center played on a kid line with Portland that included potential top ten pick Nino Neiderreiter and he got stronger and stronger as the season went on, eventually finishing with 25 goals and 69 points in 71 games. Like Neiderreiter, Johansen also had a strong playoffs with 18 points in 13 games and he is one of the younger members of this draft class as he doesn't turn eighteen until July 31st. As a consequence, many scouts believe Johansen has a much higher ceiling than he has shown to this point. Johansen had a late growth spurt and shot up three inches in the past year alone and because he's almost a half a year younger than many of the other potential top picks he has plenty of time to grow into his frame. He’s still lacking in upper body strength and once he gets that strength many scouts feel his game will advance quickly much like Carolina center Eric Staal's did under similar circumstances. Johansen’s already got the brains and is a talented playmaker, and once he gets the brawn he could be unstoppable. Despite looking awkward because of his long, skinny arms and legs, Johansen gets where he needs to on the rink and is a very good playmaker with excellent vision and surprising stickhandling ability in tight spaces. He's not a pure finisher, but he will score his fair share of goals in tight and he has been steadily evolving his entire game, as shown by his excellent play on the penalty kill, in the defensive third of the rink, and on faceoffs in the second half of the season. He patterns his game after Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf, and the team that takes him may end up getting exactly that type of player in two or three years after he finishes his development. Don’t be surprised if the Lightning take a chance on Johansen on draft day. The trend lines are in his favor, and the Lightning may very well look at him as the obvious heir apparent to Vincent Lecavalier as the club’s second line center behind Steven Stamkos.

Previous Prospect Profiles:
11 for 6: G, Jack Campbell
11 for 6: D, Cam Fowler
11 for 6: D, Erik Gudbranson
11 for 6: D, Brandon Gormley
11 for 6: C, Alex Burmistrov
11 for 6: RW, Brett Connolly
11 for 6: LW, Nino Neiderreiter
11 for 6: C/RW, Jeff Skinner
11 for 6: RW, Vladimir Tarasenko
11 for 6: C, Mikael Granlund