Kent Johnson and Nick Blankenburg to Make NHL Debuts Against the Montreal Canadiens

By 1OB Staff on April 13, 2022 at 11:13 am
Kent Johnson takes part in his first practice with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena
Columbus Blue Jackets

They're in.

Well, that's the hope at least.

Following Wednesday's morning skate at Nationwide Arena, Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen said Kent Johnson and Nick Blankenburg are scheduled to make their NHL debuts against the Montreal Canadiens.

Johnson's debut is pending final approval of his work visa, which is expected to happen in time for tonight's game. 

The Blue Jackets' first pick, No. 5 overall in 2021, Johnson comes to Columbus along with a heap of anticipation despite this being a two-week cup of coffee (and a burned year of his entry level contract). 

"(Johnson) is a highly-skilled and creative player who can bring you out of your seat whenever he's on the ice," GM Jarmo Kekalainen said upon his signing last week. "We're thrilled that he is taking the next step in his career and look forward to his growth and contributions as a Blue Jacket for years to come."

Johnson has skated in practice this week on left wing with Justin Danforth at center and Oliver Bjorkstrand on the right side. It's expected that trio will remain intact to start tonight's game. 

Blankenburg, who signed a one-year entry level contract, is also expected to be in the lineup against Montreal for his NHL debut.

"We've talked, and I'm trying to get to know (Johnson and Blankenburg) as quick as I can," Larsen said. "It's important what they bring to the table, what their foundation is, and then let them know what our expectations are. There's a long ways to do, and we'll do the best we can trying to help them."