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Sweden has developed a number of young defencemen over the last several years. That trend continues with Albert Johansson. Coming up through the Farjestads system, Johansson played his first SHL game this season. The Farjestads club was deep, finishing first in the SHL regular season. As a result, Johansson only played three games with the big club. In the J20, he put up five goals and 29 points in 40 games. His 24 assists were the most by a defenceman in the J20 South. After the Under-20 team was eliminated in the playoffs, Johansson joined the J18 team. He put up five points in six games as the J18 Farjestads team lost in the final.
Johansson regularly plays for his age group on the Swedish national team. Last summer, he won a silver medal at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. More recently, he won a gold medal at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship. Overall, he had two assists in 14 games with the Swedish Under-18 squad.
Johansson comes from a hockey family. His father, Roger Johansson played four seasons in the NHL for the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks. His uncle, Ronnie Johansson played first division pro hockey, as do his brothers Oliver and Gabriel Johansson.
Albert Johansson Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Left
Born January 4th, 2001 — Karlstad, Sweden
Height 6’0″ — Weight 168 lbs [183 cm / 76 kg]
Johansson is a fast and fluid skater. He has good speed in both directions as well as good acceleration that lets him reach that speed quickly. This combines with crisp and clean pivots to allow him to transition quickly from offence-to-defence and vice-versa quickly. Add in excellent agility and edgework and he can cover a lot of ice. Johansson has the mobility and lateral movement that serves as the foundation for his excellent two-way game. Johansson needs to add core strength though. He is currently very slight for his height. His balance would be greatly improved with more muscle as he currently can be knocked off the puck and has issues winning battles in the corners and in front of the net.
Johansson combines his skating ability with very good stickhandling. He can control the puck through the neutral zone, rushing it up the ice. Johansson makes smart reads and generates clean zone entries at the offensive blue line. He avoids defenders and can create space. He is also poised with the puck at the blue line, quarterbacking the power play and giving his teammates time to get open. Johansson has good vision and makes smart breakout passes. He is also able to move laterally to open up passing lanes and can set up teammates in the offensive zone.
Johansson has power in his slap shot but needs to work on his accuracy. He misses the net often as well as sending a lot of shots into defenders who are pressuring and taking up shooting lanes. Johansson could do a better job of using his skating to create space for his shot. He also has a quick release on his wrist shot and is better at putting it on the net when he sneaks down from the point to the top of the circles. It has decent power.
Johansson uses his excellent skating to maintain good gap control. He is tough to beat in one-on-one situations. He also uses a quick stick to poke check opponents and steal pucks. Johansson cuts down passing lanes well as he uses his stick to intercept passes. When turnovers are created, Johansson can quickly transition these into creating offence. He avoids forecheckers with his good stickhandling and skating ability and moves the puck up the ice quickly. Johansson has some issues in containing opposing forwards in the cycle game as well as winning battles on the boards and in front of the net. This is another area that he needs to get stronger.
Projection and Comparison
Albert Johansson has the skating and offensive skills to be a puck moving defender at the next level. He also has the smarts to play a strong defensive game. It will take some time though as he needs several years to add strength to his frame in order to be able to play at the pro level. The increased physical play on smaller ice surfaces will be a real issue if he cannot correct that. Johansson could also improve his shot in order to create more in the offensive zone. In terms of style, his game is similar to John Klingberg. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Albert Johansson that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect in our NHL Draft series.
Main Photo via twitter