He's waited a long time to convert his rookie experience in the NHL into a great sophomore building block.
Port Moody's Ryan Johansen is glad the wait will soon be over.
With the league and NHL Players' Association coming to an agreement in principle on the weekend to end the 113-day long lockout, the Columbus Blue Jackets' forward is happy to focus on making good on his No. 4overall promise.
"We've already done the voting now, so it's just waiting to see when camp opens and the games begin," Johansen told The NOW on Tuesday.
"I'm extremely excited."
He played Sunday for Springfield, the Blue Jackets' farm team in the American Hockey League, scoring once and setting up another. His short stay in the AHL - which he bypassed as a first-year pro - was beneficial, he said.
"We had a really good core of leaders, a good mix of experience," Johansen, 20, noted of the Falcons' roster. "There were not a lot of top offensive guys so it was a great opportunity for me to get a lot of ice in a lot of great situations."
He responded by scoring 13 goals and assisting on 13 others over 33 games. In his last 14 games, the Port Moody Minor Hockey product tallied seven goals and six assists, as he developed more chemistry with his linemates.
Now, making the most of a whirlwind NHL training camp is the next step.
"Definitely, those of us who (played in the AHL or Europe) will be in game shape to start off. The big thing for me
in Springfield was to learn the pro game, we had a real good coach who instilled a lot of what being a professional means."
As a freshman in the NHL last year, the six-foot-three forward scored nine times and drew 12 assists over 67 games.
Besides learning the pro ropes last season as a 19year-old rookie, Johansen witnessed a lot of Columbus' off-ice turmoil, which saw captain Rick Nash request a trade and the quick arrival and departure of Jeff Carter, who struggled in Ohio before landing with the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Nash was dealt to the New York Rangers last summer.
"It was pretty hectic at times, there was a lot of stuff going on but I tried not to look at the negative," recalled Johansen. "For me it was important to focus and be happy on going to the rink and being as successful and helpful to my team as possible."
That mindset is going to guide him into a shortened 2013 season, too.
"All I want to do is help us win some games, that's the first thing that comes to mind."