Hockey players are known to be tough. But, some are tougher than others. New York Islanders left winger Ross Johnston is one of the players that is tougher than the rest. Mostly known as a fighter, Johnston has already racked up 24 penalty minutes in 10 games during the current 2017-18 season. Fighting aside, Johnston has been a pleasant surprise for this Islander team in his first season. He has scored five points (three goals and two assists) in those 10 games. Add one game in 2015-16, and that's five points in 11 games. But, Johnston's story isn't as common as others. The now 24 year old was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada, in February of 1994. He went undrafted, and played in the QMJHL. He signed a three year, entry level deal with the Isles in March 2015. He played with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL, until getting called up to replace the injured Casey Cizikas, and is making his presence known.
At teammate Anders Lee's kancer jam, I was able to talk to Ross about his career, and how he describes his game.
Carter LaCorte (me): Most Isles fans see you as an enforcer. Is there any other aspect of your game that you would like to share?
Ross Johnston: I just try to work on my all-around game. In today's NHL you have to play the game as well as bring the enforcement.
CL: Most fans haven't been able to see you play too often. How would you describe your game?
RJ: It's a simple game. I dump pucks in, and I finish my hits.
CL: Is there any other player you would compare your game to?
RJ: There was a player, Matt Martin who was here before. That comparison has been drawn. I try to simulate it as best as I can.
I tell him that he's been called 'Matt Martin 2.0' a lot. "Exactly" he says.
CL: The team's offense has been great, but the defense has struggled. How can the forwards help prevent more goals from scoring?
RJ: The sooner we help our 'D' get the puck out, it's going to help us keep the puck out of our own net.
CL: What is it like to be here at Anders' kan jam event?
RJ: It's a very special event. It's a great cause, it's a pretty easy way for the players to help out in any way we can.
CL: If you could name the next NHL team in Seattle, what what you name it?
RJ: The Seattle Thunderbirds*
CL: Who has the biggest personality on the team?
RJ: [Jason] Chimera *small laugh*
*We both know that's the name of the Seattle WHL team that Mat Barzal played on.