Trail Smoke Eaters forward Kent Johnson is a finalist for the CJHL top forward award. Jim Bailey photo.

Trail Smoke Eaters leading scorer among CJHL top forward finalists

BCHL MVP and leading scorer, Kent Johnson, is one of the finalists for CJHL’s top forward award

Trail Smoke Eaters assistant captain Kent Johnson was the unanimous choice for BCHL MVP, and now the Port Moody native is up for the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Top Forward honour.

Johnson is one of five finalists in the running for the award, the CJHL announced on Thursday. Each of the nominees was determined through a voting process completed by each of the CJHL’s 10-member leagues, for their respective efforts during the course of the regular season.

Related read: Smoke Eaters alumni receive Canucks scholarships

Johnson dazzled Smoke Eaters fans every night with his creative play. He led the league in scoring by an impressive 30-points over the second highest scorer, netting 41 goals and 101 points in 52 games, with just 14 penalty minutes.

At 17 years old, Johnson is the youngest player considered for the forward award this year, and is not eligible for the NHL Draft until 2021. He dominated the BCHL on a nightly basis with highlight reel goals, uncanny passing plays, a devastatingly quick release, and accurate shot. He tallied four points or more in seven games, with two five-point nights, and a six-point spectacle against the Merritt Centennials on Nov. 27.

The six-foot-one forward averaged 1.94 points per game, and scored eight game-winning goals. He had consecutive point streaks of 10 games, and nine games, and finished the year scoring in 11 straight matches, including playoffs (but not including the two games he was rested for playoffs).

The University of Michigan commit was also selected as a member of Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. Johnson missed six games this season, and Trail went 2-4-0 in his absence, but was 34-13-2-3 with him in the Smoke Eaters’ lineup.

Among his accomplishments, Johnson was named the BCHL MVP, won the Brett Hull Leading Scorer Award, and the Most Sportsmanlike Player.

The Trail Smoke Eaters finished in second place in the Interior Division with their best record in 20 years. Trail put up a 36-17-2-2-1 record for 77 points, and swept the defending champion Prince George Spruce Kings in the first round of the BCHL playoffs, before the season was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Other considerations for the CJHL Top Forward include Carter Savoie of the Sherwood Park Crusaders from the Alberta Junior Hockey League; Brodie MacArthur from the Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Hockey League; Caleb Serre of the Blind River Beavers (N. Ontario Hockey League); and Harrison Israels of the Oakville Blades from the Ontario Hockey League.

Smoke Eaters goaltender Logan Terness was given honourable mention for the CJHL Top Rookie.

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