Unconventional Route is Working Out For Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson Spokane Chiefs
Tyler Johnson was a leader in Spokane. Will he be one in Tampa soon?

At just 22 years of age, Tyler Johnson of the Syracuse Crunch has settled in nicely as one of the top scorers in the American Hockey League.

Johnson, a native of Spokane, Washington, didn’t take the American college hockey route like many other top American players. Rather, Johnson took his talents to the Western Hockey League where he played four seasons for the Spokane Chiefs. Johnson’s effort in his fourth season with the Chiefs, in which he compiled 115 points in 71 games, was good enough to get a free agent contract offer from the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010.

Johnson was a two-time Team USA selection for the World Junior Championships in 2009 and 2010, playing a key role in the team’s gold medal effort in 2010.

Just two seasons after winning the World Junior Championships, Johnson found himself winning another championship. As a rookie last season with the Norfolk Admirals, formerly the AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Johnson posted 31 goals and 37 assists for 68 points, helping his team to a Calder Cup title. For his efforts, Johnson was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team alongside teammate Cory Conacher. Additionally, Johnson notched a point per game in the Admirals’ Calder Cup run, proving that he could produce points at a high level.

After Tampa Bay switched AHL affiliates after last season, Johnson finds himself in New York this season suiting up for the Syracuse Crunch. Following such a successful rookie season, some wondered how Johnson would follow that up. He left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he’s here to stay. Johnson currently leads the AHL in goals with 15 and is fifth in the league with 25 points in 23 games played.

It’s not only Johnson’s scoring ability that has the hockey world taking notice. Johnson’s work ethic on both ends of the ice has paid dividends, ranking second in the league with a plus-14 rating.

Johnson is establishing himself as a leader for the Syracuse Crunch, who currently sit in first place in the East Division. It’s no secret that it’s a big step from the AHL to the NHL. However, at just 22 years of age, it seems that Johnson has a bright future ahead of him.

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