2020-21 Team: Sioux Falls Stampede
Date of Birth: March 20, 2003
Place of Birth: Dallas, Texas
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 165 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
One of many United States Hockey League (USHL) defensemen eligible for the draft, Johnson is one of my personal favourites. A smooth-skating defender who makes his impact felt in all three zones, he has impressed this past season. What impresses me the most about Johnson is how composed he is when he is on the ice. He has good gap control and keeps his opponents to the outside of the defensive zone, limiting most chances they have of getting a good scoring chance on net. He battles hard in the corners and can win puck battles even when going up against bigger opponents. He is also good at clearing the front of the net of any danger presented and makes it hard for opponents to gain any space in the slot and around the net.
With the puck on his stick, Johnson is always a threat to make a play. He loves to jump into the rush and is more than capable of getting back if the play does transition the other way. He does a good job of finding open passing lanes but he does sometimes struggle to make the pass without it going too far past the intended recipient or turning it over. In the offensive zone, he has great vision and can find teammates in the slot with ease. He has good mobility and walks the blue line with confidence, waiting for a shooting lane to open at which he can get a shot on net.
Committed to the University of North Dakota for 2022-23, Johnson will get the opportunity to develop his skills at one of the elite hockey schools in the United States. With former players including Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, Brock Boeser and Zach Parise, they have certainly not lacked in producing NHL talent. He has a lot of great skills to work with and he will only get better as time goes on.
Other THW Profiles
Brent Johnson – 2021 NHL Draft Projection
Johnson has been ranked in either the second or third round and I think that is where he belongs. If a team is high on him, I could see him being taken in the second round but I think he will likely be taken in the third round. He will need a few years to develop and put on more weight but could be worth it for the team that calls his name on draft night.
“Immediately, you feel Johnson’s presence on the back-end as a stable, solid puck-mover, as he often showcases his top-tier stickhandling and forechecker deception. He also has very conservative defensive habits, often dropping deep in the neutral zone when the slightest whiff of an offensive turnover rears its head. When the opposite happens, he is quick to step up and join the rush, using his mix of high-end vision, skills, and skating to drive the puck up-ice, either himself or through his teammates. He shows great eyes to spot high-risk, high-reward passing lanes but struggles to execute them without hitting a body or stick.” – Hadi Kalakeche/DobberProspects
“Johnson really is a do-it-all defenseman. He can play with skill and confidence in every single zone. In Johnson, you’re getting a player who is excellent in transition, who can quarterback a power-play, and who isn’t afraid to jump into the rush at any given opportunity. In transition, Johnson prefers to hit teammates with a breakout pass as opposed to carrying the puck into the offensive zone by himself, or dumping the puck in. He can hit teammates in stride with short and medium-range passes, but could definitely brush up on his passing at long distances, as he tends to struggle a little bit with accuracy.” – Paul Zuk/Smaht Scouting
- Defensive play
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Needs to add more weight
Johnson is someone who I think could develop into a really solid NHL player one day. He is not going to be a franchise-altering defenseman but he has the chance to become a solid middle pairing defender if he develops the right way. He’s someone who could see some power-play time and shut the game down when need be.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense – 7/10
My name is Mathieu Sheridan. I am a writer here at THW who covers the OHL and prospects in general.