Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2015 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2016 Draft Articles Click here.
The younger brother of Nashville Predators centre Ryan Johansen, Lucas Johansen is a defenceman playing for the defence factory that is the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. Last season he played a stay at home game paired with Madison Bowey for the first half of the season, and then limited minutes for the Rockets after the trade deadline. This isn’t a criticism, but a fact of life for a 16-year-old defenceman on a stacked team that ended up winning the WHL title. This year, graduations have seen his ice time increase and Johansen has responded appropriately with 10 goals and 39 assists for 49 points in 69 games. He added two goals and eight points in 18 games, before the Rockets were eliminated by Seattle in the WHL Western conference final. Johansen also played in this year’s CHL Top Prospects game.
Lucas Johansen Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #32
Defense — shoots Left
Born Nov 16 1997 — Port Moody, British Columbia
Height 6’02” — Weight 180 lbs [188 cm / 82 kg]
Lucas Johansen is a two-way defenceman whose game is based on his smooth skating. Good agility, edge work, and strong pivots give Johansen the ability to change directions, and transition quickly and effectively from offence to defence. His good lateral movement allows him to keep the play in front of him in the defensive end, or to walk the line and open up shooting lanes in the defensive end. Johansen has decent speed and acceleration. He could stand to strengthen his lower body and have a more powerful stride and better balance.
Johansen defends the rush well by keeping defenders in front of him, and forcing them to the outside. He has a quick stick, and poke checks the puck away from attackers. He uses his long stick, and long arms to really cut down on passing and shooting lanes. Johansen is not much of a big hitter, but he is willing to work hard in front of the net and battle for pucks in the corners. He is more likely to work to establish position on a forward and tie up their stick, than to clear the front of the net. He is an extremely smart player, who reads the play well and has good positioning. He can create turnovers, and quickly transition those into offence when he does.
Offensively, Johansen is able to add to the attack with a strong first pass setting up the transition game. He also has good poise, and the stick handling ability to avoid fore checkers and skate the puck out of his own end. Johansen has a good sense of when to lead and/or join the rush and when to hang back in his own end. Working the line, he has the vision and passing ability to quarterback the power play. He also has a strong slapshot which he is able to keep low and get on net, even when facing heavy traffic. High hockey IQ allows Johansen to always seem to make the right play with and without the puck.
Johansen has the potential to be an effective two-way defender in the NHL, playing on both the powerplay and the penalty kill. With his size, it would be nice to see him play a meaner and more physical game, but if that is what you are hoping for it doesn’t seem likely to happen. However, he can still be an effective defender, and someone who alse adds points from the back end. In terms of style, Lucas Johansen is comparable to a left-handed version of Jeff Petry, however this is not a talent comparison, but one based on style only.
The following is a compilation of Lucas Johansen highlights, taken from youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the #33 prospect on our NHL Draft board.