Will the length of Tyler Johnson’s contract come back to haunt the Bolts? The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell writes that while he’s only 26 and the numbers were below his value, Johnson may very well already be in decline. Though his numbers were would have been similar had they gone to arbitration, Campbell wonders if Johnson will put up the numbers that got him the deal. Should he get 55-60 points per season, Campbell believes it to be worth the money, calling it a steal. But if his regression continues? He just hopes for general manager Steve Yzerman’s sake that the Jonathan Drouin deal doesn’t come back to haunt him, either.
It’s no secret that Johnson has struggled to stay healthy. His numbers have fallen steadily since his career year in 2014-15 where he put up 72 points. His playoff numbers in consecutive seasons were also impressive, and most likely what secured him the contract. Campbell also believes that Johnson is dependent upon his linemates, and in spite of averaging 53 points in his first four seasons, there’s a lot riding on it for him, and the Lightning.
- There’s more interesting takes coming out of Detroit regarding Tomas Tatar. The curious case of his negotiations began with him saying if he only gets a year, he’s done in Detroit. General manager Ken Holland all but shrugged it off, which led many to wonder just how motivated the Red Wings were to getting a long term deal done. The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings are wary of giving Tatar a seven-year deal. This is somewhat understandable in the cap era with the exception of one point–Holland has been more than happy to offer long term deals to players who haven’t exactly produced to warrant them–with Justin Abdelkader being the best example. So with Tatar, it’s curious. The Detroit News’ Gregg Krupa goes a step further, writing that it’s essentially “cap malpractice” if Detroit isn’t paying him because they’re too bloated from other contracts. St. James adds that Tatar hasn’t produced like T.J. Oshie, or Tyler Johnson, but to be fair, Tatar hasn’t been surrounded with the talent the aforementioned have. Further, as Krupa points out, that if a deal isn’t worked out, it’s more evidence of roster mismanagement. Once the model franchise of the NHL, the Red Wings decision making continues to baffle. The team isn’t much improved from last season, they’re strapped financially, and they’re fighting with their leading scorer on a deal. It will be interesting to see how ownership reacts should the Red Wings struggle out of the gate, especially with Holland making it a priority to make the playoffs.