Former Elmira Sugar Kings defenseman Ryan Johnston signed a two-year, two-way entry level contract with the Montreal Canadiens earlier this month, forgoing his final year of NCAA eligibility.
The 23-year-old Sudbury native played with the Kings during the 2009-10 season, winning rookie of the year honours after scoring three goals and 20 assists in 37 games.
The following year Johnston moved to the Nepean Raiders, a Junior A team in the Central Canada Hockey League. There for two campaigns, his offensive game blossomed, as he notched 110 points over 113 games.
Next, Johnston earned a scholarship to play NCAA Division 1 hockey at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, where he spent the next three seasons.
Colgate’s head coach Don Vaughan commented on Johnston’s deal with Montreal.
“I want to thank Ryan for his three years at Colgate,” he said. “Ryan feels at this time he is ready to take the next step in achieving his goal of playing in the National Hockey League. We wish him nothing but the best as he moves onto his professional career.”
During the 2014-15 campaign, Johnston tied for the team lead in points with 15, was third in blocked shots with 39 and was tied for fourth in plus-minus at plus 12. Overall, Johnston massed five goals and 37 assists in 110 games with the Raiders.
Johnston signed the deal after participating in the Canadiens’ summer development camp earlier this month, and will likely play for the St. John’s Ice Caps of the American Hockey League or the Brampton Beast of the East Coast Hockey League this fall.