The Tampa Bay Lightning and forward Tyler Johnson have agreed to terms on a seven-year contract extension worth $35 million, the team announced Monday. The deal comes with a cap hit of $5 million annually and will keep Johnson locked up until he’s 33 years old. Johnson has been a mainstay in the Lightning’s lineup for four seasons and will likely be a fixture of the team’s core for the foreseeable future with this new contract under his belt.
🎶 GO JOHNNY GO 🎶
It's official! We've re-signed Tyler Johnson to a seven-year contract worth $5 million AAV.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) July 10, 2017
Johnson was undrafted after spending four seasons in the WHL with the Spokane Chiefs, scoring 128 goals and 282 points in 263 games. His best season came in 2010-11 when he scored a jaw-dropping 53 goals and 115 points in 71 games and proved that, despite being undersized at 5 foot 8 and 185 pounds, he could play at a very high level. The Lightning took note of Johnson’s play at the WHL level and signed him as an undrafted free agent on March 7, 2011.
Making an Impact Immediately
In his first season in the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals, Johnson scored 31 goals and 68 points in 75 games, showing very little signs of slowing down despite making a jump to a higher level of competition. His sophomore season was even more impressive as he scored 37 goals and 65 points in 62 games while also earning 14 games worth of opportunity in the NHL, scoring three goals and six points in that time. In 32 postseason contests in the AHL, Johnson scored 16 goal and 35 points. After winning the Calder Cup in 2012 as well as the Les Cunningham Award in 2012-13 (awarded to the AHL’s Most Valuable Player, Johnson had nothing left to prove at the AHL level.
after making a full-time jump to the NHL, Johnson’s career started off with a bang. Earning a spot as a finalist for the Calder Trophy (awarded to the league’s top rookie), Johnson scored 24 goals and 50 points in 82 games while adding one goal and two points in four playoff games. His best season to date came in his sophomore season when he scored 29 goals and 72 points in 77 games and exploded in the postseason with 13 goals and 23 points in 26 games.
Regular Season Versus Playoff Production
Over the last two seasons, Johnson has fallen off a bit, however, scoring only 33 goals and 83 points in 135 games, missing a total of 29 games over those two seasons. While Johnson hasn’t experienced the same success in his third and fourth seasons as he did in his first two, his playoff output is still as good as it’s ever been. In 17 games in 2015-16, Johnson scored seven goals and seven points, improving his career totals to 21 goals and 42 points in 47 games. Playoff production is key in the NHL, and Johnson is quickly making a name for himself as one of the league’s top active playoff performers.
Proving what he’s capable of at the NHL level already, Johnson’s injury-riddled seasons shouldn’t be considered as the “rule,” but rather should be considered the “exception.” With a new contract, Johnson has the potential to return to form next season and become a big part of the Lightning’s offense – an offense anxiously awaiting the return of captain Steven Stamkos.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.