2014 Draft Profile: Jonas Johansson
No player on the ice is under more pressure than the goalie. And every masked man has a different way of escaping that pressure.
Some read books. Others spend time sacked out in front of the television.
Top goaltending prospect Jonas Johansson picks up his fly rod and finds a nice stream.
"I like fishing a lot, fly fishing," Johansson told NHL.com. "Back where I'm from we go up into the Swedish mountains every summer and fish one week. I look forward to that week every year."
Johansson said he's caught trout and grayling during his trips into the mountains. The bigger catch could come in June, when some NHL team reels in the 6-foot-3.75, 196-pound goaltender at the 2014 NHL Draft. NHL Central Scouting gave Johansson a B rating in its preliminary ranking of players to watch from Sweden.
"Jonas Johansson has improved a lot during the last two seasons," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com. "He's a solid, reliable goalkeeper, one of the most improved goalies in Sweden, quick reactions, reads the game very well."
Johansson started last season with Brynas' under-18 team but earned a promotion to the under-20 team. In 29 games there, he had a 2.91 goals-against average and an .899 save percentage. He had a 2.23 GAA and .931 save percentage in four games when Sweden finished fifth at the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
He has a 1.48 GAA and .941 save percentage in two games this season with Brynas' under-20 team. He earned a brief call-up to Brynas' team in the Swedish Hockey League but didn't get into a game.
Johansson this summer traveled to Lake Placid, N.Y., for a junior evaluation camp, the first step in trying to make Sweden's team for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. He played one game, allowing four goals on seven shots in 35 minutes against Canada.
Though those numbers aren't particularly strong, Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg said he was impressed.
"He's a big goalie," Gronborg said. "[He's] a very determined goalie. I think during the last year just watching him that year develop into a really solid goalie. … He really competes, really wants to be a goaltender. He decided he wants to be goaltender and he made a commitment to it. With his size together with the competitiveness and athleticism, I think it makes him a pretty good package."
Johansson said he enjoyed the experience in Lake Placid and would love to represent his country at home for the World Juniors.
"It's just fantastic," he said. "It's a huge experience for me just to play with these guys. … I've just seen them on TV before. It’s a huge experience for me."
Making the WJC team would give him a chance to follow in the footsteps of one of his goaltending favorites, Jacob Markstrom of the Florida Panthers.
Like Johansson, Markstrom is a product of the Brynas hockey club. He won a silver medal and a bronze medal at the World Juniors in 2009 and 2010.
"I like Jacob Markstrom," Johansson said. "He comes from my team back in Sweden. I look up to him lots. I think he plays the perfect goalie game. He doesn't sit down too much. He just plays more athletic also."
Though Johansson isn't as big as Markstrom (6-foot-6, 196), Johansson counts his size among his assets.
"I'm a big goalie," he said. "I cover a lot of area in the net and try to never give up on a puck ... more butterfly [style]. You can cover a lot of the net without much work. Just sit there and cover."
Johansson said he hasn't put much thought into the 2014 draft. Swedish goalies have been popular in recent seasons (at least one has been taken in the first three rounds every year but one since 2006) but he knows there's a lot of work to do.
"I haven't looked that far yet," he said. "It would be of course great to be just named in that scene at the draft [but] it's nothing I concentrate a lot on."
Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor