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Jr. Chowder Cup a stepping stone for Johansen Brothers

After last spring’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, most who follow the game of hockey know Ryan Johansen. That was not the case a decade ago when the NHL star played in the New England Pro Am Hockey League.

Playing for Canada West at the 2008 Junior Chowder Cup, Johansen caught the eyes of scouts at the tournament, most notably those of Sebastien LaPlante. Then an assistant coach at Northeastern University, LaPlante offered the emerging prospect a scholarship to play for the Huskies. Johansen opted to play juniors, however, in both the BCHL and WHL, and ended up being selected no. 4 overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Johansen’s stay at the Junior Chowder Cup set a family trend as his younger bother Lucas went on to follow in Ryan’s footsteps some six years later. Lucas also appeared in a Junior Chowder Cup with Canada West. He also drew interest from the college ranks, but opted for three years in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets, eventually becoming a first round selection in the NHL Draft like his brother; no. 28 overall in 2016.

“Although at a different position than his brother, I felt he was ahead of his brother at the same age,” Canada West general manager Lou Gravel noted of the younger Johansen. “Lucas is a D with size, but also a very cerebral player.”

In his professional rookie campaign this winter, Lucas has posted five goals and 15 assists in 55 games for the AHL’s Hersey Bears. Now in his eighth professional season (all in the NHL) and third with the Nashville Predators, Ryan Johansen recorded 32 assists and 41 points in his first 60 games played.