Lightning’s Tyler Johnson on his status for opener, upcoming season

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Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson on his status for the season-opener Saturday night against the Panthers and what he thinks about the construction of the Bolts' roster.

REPORTER: How excited are you?

- Yeah, feels good. Kind of just right along the schedule that, you know, we've kind of laid out. So we'll just see how it keeps going, and hopefully I'm in there.

REPORTER: Was it frustrating at all kind of having to sit back a little bit and not play in some of these preseason games? And just how excited are you to start getting some games in?

- Yeah, it's definitely frustrating. I mean, watching hockey is not all that fun for us. So we definitely want to be out there, want to be playing. But, you know, things happen. And you know, I got a little bit of rest and been working at it. And I guess it's better to happen then than later. So, you know, just trying to get better, trying to help the team hopefully win some games here.

REPORTER: Almost the same team as last year, but now the additions of Joseph and Martel. You got to play with Joseph a lot, and he kind of leaned on you a lot for just looking at your two-way ability. Just what do you see from him and what assets he can bring to this team?

- Yeah, he's a really talented player. He's a guy that can really skate and fly. And, you know, he's fun to watch, the way that he plays. So you know, he earned it out of camp. He's been playing extremely well and, you know, I can't wait to see what he can do in the regular season here as well.

REPORTER: Are you still 50-50 to play opening night? Is that--

- Yeah. You know, I'm just kind of waiting and listening and just seeing what other people say. So I just, you know, wherever they want me, you know, if I'm feeling good then I'll be going. And we'll see how the recovery goes.

REPORTER: Yeah, we were looking at the lines from today. And it's like, you know, once you come back, you know, someone's got to come out. Once Callie comes back, someone's got to come out. It's just like, who do you take out? There's so many, like, good forwards. And there's such depth right now. Is this like the most depth you've seen among this forward group in your time here?

- I think so. And I think that, you know, it's a big testament to our organization that we have a lot of guys that-- even the guys that have been sent down to the NHL that are deserving to play in the NHL. And maybe on some other teams, they might be up. So, you know, it's an internal battle for us, you know, to get our ice time, get our lines and everything. And at the same time it's great for us. I feel like we can really roll four lines and really contribute everywhere.

REPORTER: Even as a veteran, I mean, do you feel like, you know, you have to fight for your ice time? Or--

- I mean, I think everyone does. If you're not contributing, if you're not helping, if you're not doing the role that you're asked to do, you know, obviously you're not going to play. I think everyone's goal in here is to win the Stanley Cup, and it's going to take everybody. It's not only the 20 guys playing, it's going to be the guys that aren't playing as well. I mean, everyone has to have the same mentality. Everyone has to come to the rink with the same-- you know, that desire, that grit. And it makes everyone else better.

REPORTER: You've proven you can play the center or on the wing. Is there one that you kind of prefer or like to play, or that kind of caters to your strengths going into the season?

- You know, I don't really care. You know, they're both, you know, relatively pretty similar, especially the way that we play our D zone and everything. So wherever the coach feels it's going to be best suited for me for the team, that's where I'll be.