NHL Draft 2013: Andreas Johnson - 7th Round 202nd Overall

With their final pick of the 2013 Draft the Leafs selected this speedy Swedish winger

Andreas Johnson is 18 and he has 12 games played in the SHL (That's the new re-branded name for the old Swedish Elite League - get used to reading it) against men - including 5 in the playoffs. He only scored 1 goal in those 7 games, but the fact that Frolunda felt he had earned promotion to the club at the age of 18 speaks volumes to his development.

Standing 5'10" and only weighing in at 172 lbs, Johnson is described as follows by EliteProspects.com (a Swedish hockey prospect site that does an excellent job of tracking stats of most leagues across Europe and North America):

A fast-skating winger with very good hands and vision. Johnson can set plays up as well as take the shot himself. Plays with lots of energy. Very nifty stickhandler.

- Elite Prospects, 2012

Johnson represented Sweden this past year on their U19 international side, and he ranked 12th in the SHL in games played by forwards under the age of 19 with 7. Frolunda is in the midst of a youth movement as they also feature Leafs Defensive prospect Tom Nilsson, Oilers prospect Erik Gustafsson, Stars prospect John Klingberg, Habs prospect Sebastian Collberg, 'Canes prospect Erik Karlsson, and fellow 2013 draft pick Andreas Wellberg (Columbus Blue Jackets, 14th overall).

As a brief aside here - another 18 year old also joining the club up front this past season was Gustav Rydahl - I find it strange that an 18 year old 6'3", 205 lb C/W with tonnes of international experience, a half season in the SHL, decent hands, decent physicality and toughness went undrafted this year... sort of confusing? Three other Frolunda prospects were selected in the 2013 draft after Wellberg and before Johnson, yet none of them have been promoted to the top club yet, so hopefully Johnson's early promotion indicates where he's at developmentally with respect to his peers. Either way - Johnson and the other kids on Frolunda are likely to see larger roles going forward over the next year or two.

An amusing note when considering Johnson's size and skill set, when he was promoted to the top side of Frolunda he selected number 88 because he likes to pattern his game after Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks.

The selection of Johnson appears to be a late round selection by the Leafs based on a smaller player with good skating and offensive upside - which fits with a number of the Leafs later round selections in recent years. Think along the lines of Tony Cameranesi or Jerry D'Amigo in past drafts.

Additionally of note is the fact that Johnson's bloodlines are very strong in the Swedish hockey world. His father Jonas was captain of Frolunda for 5 seasons from 2003-04 through 2007-08 and a fixture with the team for 11 seasons starting in 1998-99. He retired following the 2008-09 season, following a 22 year career in Swedish professional hockey. He was also drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 7th round, 221st overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft (at the time he was already 32 years old - 32 YEARS OLD? - so I have no idea what St. Louis' scouts were thinking with that selection).

Andreas' older brother Jonathan is also a prospect in the Frolunda system, though 20 years of age and undrafted by the NHL. He has bounced around on loan a bit in recent seasons and his production declined slightly this past year with the Frolunda J20 side.

Based on the fact that Andreas actually got drafted at the age of 18 when he was first draft eligible, he apparently has done more than his brother or father to attract the notice of the Leafs top European scout Thommie Bergman. Johnson remains under contract with Frolunda through the 2014-15 season, so he won't be leaving Sweden anytime soon. Expect the Leafs to track his development from afar and offer him a contract within a couple of years if he looks like he has NHL potential.

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