By professor ggrib
We may be building us an All Star. He might not be ready for Jan 2014, but at this point it looks like we are building one…………Who is that you say? Much has been written about his growth and improvement this year so it might not be a surprise, it is Ryan Johansen. Why am I projecting him as an All Star? So far this year, let’s look at some stats and information and get a flavor of young Ryan. As a quick overview, last year in 40 games Ryan had 5 goals and 7 assists. This year in 24 games he has 8 goals [the team leader] and 8 assists. And in fact he seems to be improving as the year goes on.
 He’s a center– His position is center, as such he has a number of functions, but a primary one is to pass to teammates to set them up for possible shots or plays, in basketball he would be called a play maker and he is fulfilling that roll and doing it well. How many times this year has he made great passes to teammates. True, not all have been for goals, but the point here is that he is making a lot of very good passes to provide opportunities.
Another function of center is to take faceoffs, and winning them. Again mission accomplished. In total, most of the Blue Jacket centers have done well this year. Johansen has become the go to center for most critical faceoffs. Even so, he is averaging 52. % and is even high in the critical possession faceoffs.
 Scoring– Although still early this season, Ryan had basically doubled his scoring from last year both in goals and assists as per 60 minutes per game. As of game 24 as mentioned above. In addition, he is now facing just a bit more of the opposing teams better defensemen. Last year he started to be sent against the opposing top centers to slow them down. This year, it’s also he is drawing more top opponents to slow him down.
 Intangibles– The fact is is taking more faceoffs, particularly of the more critical type and still maintaining a 50%+ win rate against the top opposing centers is a flag that should be saluted. For what it’s worth, he is now the subject of more interviews by the press, an indication that his performance is recognized. He seems to mesh well with Foleigno and I’ve noted Ryan Murray in the last few games. [of course the primary assist in Murray’s goal against Toronto] And he not be selfish, passing to players who appear to have a better shot, rather than just shooting.
Just saying…. our young brick may be building himself into an All Star.