Wyatt Johnston is a top prospect who's been flying somewhat under the radar this season. The young Dallas Stars forward is not yet part of the opposing team's game plan, but he could quickly become a problem.
Still, it's hard to stand out in a roster that has forward players like Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Mason Marchment, to name a few.
< p>The 19-year-old Ontarian, however, is doing well, having made the jump directly from the Ontario Junior League (OHL) to the National Hockey League (NHL).
“It’s obviously a big adjustment from junior hockey. I'm adjusting and still learning. I feel like I'm improving every day,” admitted Saturday after training at the Bell Center, the man who amassed 124 points in 68 games with the Windsor Spitfires last year.
Johnston, who Dallas picked 23rd overall in the 2021 draft, admits, however, that joining such a successful group has made things much easier.
Three years ago, on February 15, 2019, Robertson showed up for a game in Montreal. Still relatively unknown, the left winger had just collected his first point in the Bettman circuit. He has since become the Stars' best forward.
“I will try to chart my own path, but it would be nice to have the same learning curve as Robertson. He is an important part of this team. You have seen his impact in recent years, especially since he is still very young,” Johnston explained.
“Three years ago, it was the confidence that I had to find. He has just arrived and he shows us that he has confidence. He may be ahead of me at the same age. He's here for a reason. He is a very talented player,” complimented Robertson.
Young players who come to the NHL bring with them an element of surprise. Despite their inexperience, newcomers like Johnston for the Stars, or Juraj Slafkovsky and Kaiden Guhle for the Canadian, can upset a game plan.
“I've only been in the NHL for three years, but the young people who come up, they all have a special talent. They all have a little something extra,” Robertson remarked.
How we meet again!
As recently as June, Johnston and the Spitfires were in the OHL Finals. Their opponents, the Hamilton Bulldogs and a certain Arber Xhekaj.
Fighting the robust defender is obviously not a cakewalk. The forward joked about their physiques, with the Canadiens fullback standing at 6'4″ and 238 lbs. Johnston, at 6'1″ and 185lbs, isn't the shortest, but his style is diametrically opposed to Xhekaj's.
One thing is for sure, he couldn't have predicted their next head-to-head would be in the NHL.
“Obviously he's a very good player. He has several tools that bring him success. It's quite difficult for young players to make it to the big club. He is already doing well, he has shown what he is capable of,” he admitted.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128