Since making his NHL-debut, Ross Johnston has become a fan-favorite in Brooklyn. His hard-nosed, no-nonsense play has seemed to spark the New York Islanders over the last month.
Ross Johnston is a bad dude. I don’t mean that he’s unkind or mean-spirited. I’m sure he’s a very pleasant guy. Off the ice, that is. On the ice for the New York Islanders, Johnston is Dirty-freaking-Harry. Feeling lucky, punk? Go ahead, make his day.
His pounding of Ryan Lomberg on February 11 (and Johnny Boychuk landing four punches from his back the previous game) provided a much-needed spark to this team. Oh yeah, he’s also scored more goals this season than Jason Chimera, accomplishing that feat in around 75% fewer games than the quickly-fading veteran.
Some fans were calling for the Islanders to trade for our former resident-tough-guy,
, now with the Toronto Maple Leafs. As fun as having Martin back in the fold for the Isles would be,
‘s emergence as an even more effective enforcer
scorer leaves that point moot.
New York Islanders don’t need Martin, they’ve got Ross Johnston
More from Eyes On Isles
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- Islanders: Semyon Varlamov Deserves Benefit of the Doubt
- Islanders Ilya Sorokin becoming number one goalie
- Islanders Zach Parise Was Quiet in Return to Minnesota
Of course, especially for this franchise, what goes up must eventually come down. While we may not see Ross Johnston continue to be the offensive threat that he’s been over his first month-or-so in the NHL, his offensive skills are far superior to a guy like Martin and his services would come with a much lower price tag.
Considering that the New York Islanders have been without a true enforcer since moving on from Matt Martin, Ross Johnston certainly filled a much-needed hole in the Isles roster.
The fact that he finds himself in the right places at the right times in the opposition’s zone is simply icing on the cake.
What could Johnston turn into for the New York Islanders?
Dustin Byfuglien is the first player that comes to mind when I think of tough guys who could also be productive on the offensive side of things. Putting aside the fact that he’s not a defenseman; if Ross Johnston can continue to develop at the rate he has thus far, personally, I don’t think the comparison to Byfuglien is all that far-fetched.
Both are gargantuan versions of regular-sized people (Byfuglien and Johnston are both 6’5″). Both could moonlight as amateur prizefighters. And, both can handle themselves with a puck on their stick. While Johnston may never be the offensive-powerhouse Byfuglien is, their games are vaguely similar in style. The New York Islanders could benefit from that type of presence in their lineup.
Though the Isles outplayed the Minnesota Wild yesterday but still lost, their overall play over the last couple of weeks has improved dramatically. Hopefully, with Ross Johnston continuing to do what Ross Johnston apparently does, the rest of the team that may be underperforming (looking at you Andrew Ladd) will get it together.
Until then, here’s to Roscoe sticking to the same agenda he’s been on since coming up to the New York Islanders; kicking butt, taking names, and putting the biscuit in the basket.