Tuesday was a big nights of firsts on several hockey fronts, including the first NHL goal for Ryan Johansen. It was the game winner to boot, and the Blue Jackets’ win lifted them out of their losing start to the season. Even now, there is still chatter about whether Ryan will stay, will he come back to Portland, will Columbus use all nine games, is he ready for the NHL, blah, blah, blah. I knew Ryan would kick in and start showing why he was drafted 4th overall in 2010 once he got quality ice time and good linemates, and that he did. But all this fuss also got me to thinking about how an NHL team decides whether to keep a prospect or send him back to juniors or to the AHL. What makes a player, no matter how good, ready for the show? And of course, what criteria would I use to determine whether prospects were ready for the big time?
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