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Blue Jackets' Johnson: Demotion to AHL was 'difficult'

Ben Jackson / National Hockey League / Getty

Forward Kent Johnson has no hard feelings after the Columbus Blue Jackets demoted their young prospect to the AHL's Cleveland Monsters on Friday.

"I think (the Blue Jackets) did a good job communicating," Johnson told The Hockey Writers' Mark Scheig following the Monsters' win Saturday. "I know I'm an important part of this franchise, and I'm gonna keep working."

The Blue Jackets sent Johnson to the minors after he tallied one goal and three points in eight games and sat as a healthy scratch for a pair of contests this season. Johnson recorded 16 goals and 40 points as a rookie last campaign.

The 2021 fifth overall pick called the demotion "difficult" and said his familiarity with players on the Monsters has made his transition to the minors smoother, per Scheig.

"I got a lot of buddies on the team. I know 'em all from camp. They're really good guys," Johnson told reporters, including AHL News Now's Deana Weinheimer. "Right when I got back to the room, it was fun catching up with them. It's a great group."

He added: "If I wasn't so tight with these guys, it would suck. So it's definitely really helpful."

Johnson has three assists through two contests with Cleveland. The British Columbia native hadn't played an AHL game prior to being sent down this week.

"I really believe in myself," Johnson said. "I think I'll be fine."

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