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PPP's Top 25 Under 25 - #9 Andreas Johnson

The Swede caps a sensational season with the single highest move up in our countdown's history. Is this the late round gem we've waited for, or are we reading too much into one year?

Particularly on Twitter, I've recently been having a lot of discussions about the Leafs recent draft record. See, I've had the opinion recently that Dave Morrison hasn't been doing a very good job as Leafs Head of Amateur Scouting.

Here's the cold hard truth; since he took over the job and had two fine drafts in 2006 and 2007, that netted several mid-to-late round players, such as Nikolai Kulemin, James Reimer, Matt Frattin and Carl Gunnarsson, the Leafs have internally drafted just three players that have become full-time NHL players.

Luke Schenn. Nazem Kadri. Morgan Rielly. That's the list.

There are players that are close (Petter Granberg, for instance). There are young players that the Leafs traded for and have become NHLers (Jake Gardiner, Peter Holland). There are some that might be on the way (Connor Brown, Greg McKegg, Matt Finn to name a few). But the only Leaf picks were the three I mentioned, and all were taken with the 7th overall pick or earlier in their draft. That's appallingly bad for someone who's been in the role since 2006.

There's been a lot of picks traded away for reasons that have (Mikhail Grabovski, Phil Kessel) and have not (numerous). There's been a lot of picks that have not yielded results that were expected. And unfortunately, there's been no (of yet) late-round steals.

Don't look now, but Thommie Bergmann, the Leafs longtime European scout, might have grabbed another one for the Buds. Andreas Johnson, a 7th round pick in 2013, moves up 23 spots on our countdown, and lands at #9.

Birthyear: 1994-11-21 Birthplace: Gävle, SWE
Age: 19 Nation: Sweden
Position: LW Shoots: L
Height: 178 cm / 5'10" Weight: 80 kg / 176 lbs
Youth Team: HK Kings Contract: 15/16
Drafted: 2013 round 7 #202 overall by Toronto Maple Leafs

Looking through Johnson's resume to date, the only thing I can see that kept him available until the 7th round of the draft is this; his size (5'19", 175 lbs), and the fact he spent his draft year in Sweden's junior leagues (where he performed admirably) as opposed to in Sweden's pro leagues. That's about all I can come to, because he possesses everything else you might ask for.

He's a very fast skater, and plays the game with a high pace and energy, and has all the necessary tools to be an offensive contributor. He has the track record at lower levels, both at the U18 and U20 levels (and he's usually playing a year or two ahead of his age). But I don't really know how to compare Sweden;s junior league to, say, the OHL or USHL, and it's hard to get too excited until you see him at a higher level, like when he started playing against men in the SHL.

Simply put, Johnson blew the doors off.

As a 19-year old rookie playing for Frolunda, Johnson socred 24 points in 44 games, which led all players under 20. He won the SHL Rookie of the Year. He was an important player for Sweden's World Junior Championship side that rolled through the tournament before being bested by Finland in the gold medal game.

Mattias Ek of Expressen was kind enough to also pass on some thoughts, though does temper expectations a little bit by giving us more information about Johnson's season.

Andreas Johnson was playing very well for Frolunda in the SHL last fall and was really one of the best players of his team until World Juniors in early January. After that, coming back to Frolunda, he was not the same player and had lost a lot of energy in his game. Therefore, it's going to be fun watch him making a fresh start in Frolunda this year. He is at least one more season away from the NHL, probably more.

He has started off hot again this season, scoring 11 points in 3 games during Europe's new Champions League style tournament (though Elite Prospects says he is currently injured). Johnson appears to be a guy that has scored at every level that is just now coming into his own, and the Leafs may have benefited by grabbing him so late.

Name birky BowerPower Burtch Chemmy clrkaitken Nikota PPP SkinnyFish 67 Sound FINAL RANK
Andreas Johnson 10 8 5 11 12 21 12 18 6 9
Previous Ranking - - - 15 - - - - - 32

We've never heard a player make THIS sort of massive jump up our rankings. Part of this speaks to the qualitty at which Johnson performed last season, and a little of the shallowness of the prospect pool; there's a lot of guys that just don't have the ceiling Johnson displayed this season, and so with reason, Johnson has rocketed past them.

Went from unheard of smallish winger with ashtma taken in the 7th round to the SHL rookie of the year. - Steve Burtch

What can i say? I moved him up so much because I hold young players competing against men in regard. - JP Nikota [Author's note: I think JP thought he was moving Johnson up a lot higher than most of the group would be. Apparently not.

I was actually surprised to see just how far he had moved up, though it's worth noting that he is still a step below the top players in our list, as at this point it should be.