Tyler Johnson reports 'stronger than I've ever been'
Tyler Johnson had alluded to the fact that his right wrist - broken during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final - bothered him at the beginning of last season.
On Tuesday, we found out just how much.
"I had no strength, didn't really have flexibility," Johnson, 26, said upon reporting to the Lightning's informal skates in Brandon. "It took me a long time to be able to do anything. It was pretty much about January I could finally do a push-up."
That could explain why Johnson, a 29-goal scorer in his 2014-15 All-Star season, began last season in a 12-game goal drought, tallying just four in his first 29 games. Johnson, not so coincidentally, came to life in January, finishing with 14 goals, then seven in the postseason, buoying the Lightning into the Eastern Conference Final. Even then, Johnson felt there was "another level" he could have reached.
Johnson said there are no excuses, he has to be "way better." And now, after a healthy offseason filled with regular workouts instead of rehab, he's ready.
"I finished the summer stronger than I've ever been," Johnson said. "I can't wait for this season to start, to really show what I can do."
Johnson, a restricted free agent after this season, was excited by the Lightning's offseason moves, particularly re-signing captain Steven Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman, not to mention wing Alex Killorn. Virtually the same group that went to back-to-back conference finals sees how close it is to the Stanley Cup.
"We've been close the last two years," Johnson said. "But close isn't good enough. You don't get anything for second or third place. It's not what we want."