Columbus’ Johansen looks to move past AHL benching

Ryan Johansen performed great defensively during the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 19-5-5 run to end 2013. Unfortunately the team didn’t make the playoffs, so the fourth overall pick in 2010 was sent to the AHL Springfield Falcons to get a little extra work in their postseason effort before getting his summer underway.

That didn’t go as planned. Springfield coach Brad Larsen wasn’t happy with Johansen’s effort and ended up making him a healthy scratch in the second round, a move which Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen backed.

How Johansen responds to that incident this season will go a long way towards determining if he’ll live up to his potential. So far, he’s saying the right things.

“It was tough,” Johansen told the Columbus Dispatch. “I wasn’t playing the way I wanted to. Nobody likes watching your team from the stands.

“I’ll definitely do everything I can to prevent that from ever happening again.”

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards has been impressed with the 21-year-old forward’s speed during training camp, although he cautioned that the real test will start on Tuesday when he plays in his first 2013 preseason game.

Johansen is a good bet to make the team despite the AHL incident, but he wants to do more than just that. After averaging 16:05 minutes per contest in 40 games last season, Johansen hopes to play in a bigger role this season.

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