Spokane Native Set to Make NHL Debut - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Spokane Native Set to Make NHL Debut

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Spokane native and former Chiefs star Tyler Johnson is set to make his NHL debut. (Courtesy Spokane Chiefs) Spokane native and former Chiefs star Tyler Johnson is set to make his NHL debut. (Courtesy Spokane Chiefs)
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Courtesy Spokane Chiefs

TAMPA BAY - The National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled Spokane native Tyler Johnson from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, the Lightning's vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Johnson will wear number 63.

Johnson, 22, has played in 59 games this season with the Crunch, collecting 31 goals and 57 points to go along with a plus-25 rating. He ranks first on the Crunch and second in the AHL in points and leads the league in goals. Of his 31 goals, 11 have come while on the power play, tied for third in the AHL. The Central Valley High School graduate native has recorded six multi-goal games this season with Syracuse.

The 5-foot-9, 182-pound forward has posted back-to-back 30-goal seasons in his first two professional seasons in the AHL. In 134 career AHL games, all in the Lightning organization, Johnson has recorded 62 goals and 125 points to go along with plus-47 rating. During the 2011-12 season, Johnson ranked second in AHL rookie scoring with 68 points and was named the AHL Player of the Month for March, collecting six goals and 14 points during that stretch. He skated in 14 AHL playoff games last season with the Norfolk Admirals, tallying six goals and 14 points to help them win the Calder Cup.

Johnson was originally signed by the Lightning as a free agent on March 7, 2011. He skated in 266 Western Hockey League games during four seasons with the Spokane Chiefs from 2007-2011, recording 128 goals and 282 points. Johnson won the Brad Hornung Trophy for the WHL's Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year and was the Western Conference Player of the Year in 2011, his fourth and final season as a Chief.

Johnson will become the sixth Chief off the 2008 Memorial Cup Championship team to play in the NHL; Jared Cowen (Ottawa), Jared Spurgeon (Minnesota), Justin Falk (Minnesota), Dustin Tokarski (Tampa Bay) and Drayson Bowman (Carolina).

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