For the second year in a row, a prospect in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization won the AHL’s Most Valuable Player Award as Tyler Johnson of the Syracuse Crunch was given the honor last week. Johnson follows Cory Conacher, last year’s winner, as the second Bolt prospect to win the award. Conacher has since moved on to the Ottawa Senators organization via trade.
Johnson was named MVP last Friday, then promptly went out and scored a hat trick and four points that night just to erase any doubts he was the clear winner. He added a goal the next night to finish the week with four goals, one assist, the league MVP award, and our Prospect of the Week award.
Johnson’s former AHL coach, Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning, wasn’t surprised “in the slightest” to learn of Johnson’s performance after the award. He said Johnson clearly earned the title as league MVP.
A natural center, Johnson finished the AHL regular season with a league-leading 37 goals and 65 points in 62 games. He added three goals and six points in 14 games with the Lightning.
Johnson is expected to compete for a spot with the Lightning this fall, after he and his Crunch teammates are finished with their playoff run this spring. They open this week against Portland in Round 1. The Lightning organization is hoping for a repeat of an AHL championship, too.
BoltProspects.com ranks Johnson No. 2 among Lightning prospects behind Russian goalie Andrey Vasilevskiy.