2009-10: Ben Johnson skated for Calumet High school in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and played for the Ojibwa Eagles midget AAA team in Hancock (home of Michigan Tech). He was the leading scorer for Calumet with 59 points as a sophomore and scored 8 goals with 11 assists in 21 games with the Eagles. Johnson was selected by the Fargo Force in the fourth round of the 2010 USHL Futures Draft.
2010-11: Johnson was named Michigan’s Mr. Hockey after his junior season at Calumet and also skated for Little Caesars’ U18 team, the USHL’s Fargo Force, and the US National Team Development Program. In 30 games with Calumet, he scored 37 goals with 40 assists. He played 13 games with Little Caesars and scored 3 goals with 2 assists and had 16 penalty minutes. In six games with the NDTP, he scored 5 goals with 1 assist. In five games with Fargo he was scoreless and minus-three with 2 penalty minutes. The Windsor Spitfires signed Johnson to an OHL contract in May 2011.
2011-12: Johnson skated in all 68 games for the Spitfires in his first OHL season. He finished the season with 18 goals and 20 assists and was minus-five with 44 penalty minutes. After finishing fourth in the West Division the Spitfires were swept by Memorial Cup-bound London in a first-round playoff series. In four playoff games Johnson had 2 assists and was minus-one. He was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and ranked 52nd amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Johnson’s second season with Windsor was a struggle for the 18-year-old as he failed to build on the offensive numbers of his first OHL season and the Spitfires missed the OHL playoffs. His future as a prospect took a further hit when he was implicated in an off-ice incident in March. Johnson scored 20 goals with 17 assists and was minus-28 with 32 penalty minute in 54 games for the Spitfires – missing the last four games with an injury. The Spitfires finished fifth in the West Division. Johnson skated in the Devils rookie camp in July 2013, suggesting he is still in their plans.
2013-14: Johnson attended training camp with New Jersey before returning to Windsor and made his pro hockey debut with Devils AHL affiliate Albany following the OHL playoffs. He had his first pro point, an assist, and was plus-1 with no penalties in five games with the Albany Devils. Johnson was the third-leading scorer for much-improved Windsor, scoring 28 goals with 25 assists in 59 regular season games and was plus-18 with 30 penalty minutes. The Spitfires returned to the playoffs after a one year absence, finishing second in the West Division, and lost to Memorial Cup host London in a first round series. Johnson scored 4 goals with 2 assists and was minus-4 with 2 penalty minutes in the four-game series. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with New Jersey in May 2014.
Johnson's best asset is his break-neck speed. He is a simply phenomenal skater and at times it looks effortless when he is blazing around the rink. He uses that speed to drive defenders wide and take the puck to the net and he'll also use it to forecheck and assert himself physically. Johnson is still quite raw in the offensive aspect of his game but the potential is there for him to become a consistent offensive force.
Johnson was unable to crack Albany’s lineup last season and was sent to the ECHL to earn more playing time. It does not get any easier for him as many of the Devils more promising prospects enter the pros this season. Johnson has to continue working hard to earn another chance in Albany but his path to the NHL has become crowded.