Blue Jackets rookie Ryan Johansen still seems out of place on a checking line. But at least he's playing center, his natural position.
It's been an underwhelming and, at times, bizarre season for Johansen, the Blue Jackets' No. 4 overall pick in 2010. In 57 games, he's had nine goals, 10 assists and a minus-1 rating -- not awful numbers for a rookie -- but it's how he's been used that's raised eyebrows.
Johansen, viewed as a prototype No. 1 center in today's NHL, spent most of the season playing left or right wing on the fourth line. Either that, or he's been a healthy scratch by a Blue Jackets club that's been out of the postseason race since the second month of the season.
For the last five games, Johansen has centered the No. 4 line, but he was elevated to the checking line in advance of Sunday's 2-1 shootout win in Calgary.
"I'm 100 percent more comfortable (at center)," Johansen told The Columbus Dispatch. "The first game and a half (back at center), I felt off a little bit, but it has started to come back to me. I've started to feel like myself."
The next game for the Blue Jackets is Tuesday at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.
NOTES, QUOTESPower play continuing to come up empty
--After a brief resurgence in early February, the Blue Jackets power play has settled back into early-season form. After going 0-for-2 in Sunday's 2-1 win vs. Calgary, the Blue Jackets are in an 0-for-33 drought that has sent them tumbling from 16th to 25th in the NHL rankings.
--Sunday's 2-1 shootout win in Calgary improved the Blue Jackets to 4-5 in shootouts this season, including wins in four of their last six. The Jackets went 5-8 in shootouts during the 2010-11 season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's easy to tell, when you look at that stat, about the care and the want." -- Blue Jackets interim coach Todd Richards, referring to the Jackets' willingness to block shots late in a non-playoff season.
ROSTER REPORTPLAYER NOTES:
--G Curtis Sanford suffered an upper leg injury during the first period of Sunday's 2-1 shootout win in Calgary and did not return. He was spotted on crutches after the game.
--D James Wisniewski suffered a cut his the left side of his face late in Sunday's 2-1 shootout win in Calgary. It's unclear how significant the cut is, but Wisniewski needed stitches before flying home to Columbus with the club after the game. He'll be reevaluated on Monday.
--D Nikita Nikitin continued to be a pleasant surprise for the Blue Jackets, who acquired him for D Kris Russell in November. In 48 NHL games before this season, Nikitin had one goal, eight assists and a minus-4 rating. In 44 games with the Blue Jackets, he has five goals, 18 assists and a minus-8 rating while playing on the No. 1 defensive pair.
--D Fedor Tyutin (broken hand) is out for the season.
--C Derek MacKenzie (concussion) is out indefinitely.
--LW Kristian Huselius (lower body) is out indefinitely.
--D Radek Martinek (concussion) is out for the season.
--D Marc Methot (broken jaw) is out for the season.