Inside Filip Johansson’s promising SHL season after signing with the Canucks: CA prospect rankings #8

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber
1 year ago
We all know how hard right-shot defencemen are to come by in the hockey world.
And the Canucks were able to pick one up for free last summer with the free agent signing of Filip Johansson.
Johansson has taken a nice step in his fourth SHL season and we will highlight the good things he does in the offensive zone while also acknowledging the reasons why the Minnesota Wild let their 2018 first-round pick become a free agent.
In the end, Johansson is a right-shot defenceman. And with the loss of Jonathan Myrenberg in the Jack Studnicka trade, Johansson is the Canucks’ only right-shot defenceman prospect in our top-10 rankings.
Filip Johansson is a 6’1″, 22-year-old right-shot defenceman. He is playing in his third season with Frölunda in the SHL and is typically used as their top-pairing defenceman on the right side.
He leans heavily into being an offensive defenceman and has a bit of a gritty side to him. Johansson is at his best on the power play and possesses both a wrist shot and slap shot that often find the net. He has attempted 276 shots this season in SHL and Champions League play and has hit the net on 115 of those shots.

Shooting stats from SportContract
Through 39 SHL games, Johansson has five goals and 10 assists and holds a positive control of the goal share with his SHL team that has scored 108 goals on the year and allowed 107. Johansson has shown well against weaker competition in CHL (Champions League) play — he has four goals and five assists through 12 CHL games this season.
As we mentioned earlier in this article, Johansson was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft by the Minnesota Wild. The Canucks were able to sign Johansson as a free agent after the Wild decided to not sign him and instead, let him walk off their reserve list.
Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin has said that Johansson is expected to come to North America next year and with that, we expect to see Johansson in the AHL with the Abbotsford Canucks. That being said, Johansson could surprise us in a similar way that Nils Åman did earlier this season.
We’ve talked about the offence, so let’s get to some goal clips.
So, yeah… the 22-year-old can really shoot the puck. It’s nice to see from a right-shot defenceman.
He also seems to move decently well at the SHL level but it’s going to take a lot of work for him to be able to maintain his above-average speed once he makes the jump to the NHL. There are certainly some skills in his game that are intriguing, but there are also a lot of warts in his play this year.
Simply put, Johansson is not a good defender. He can play physically at the SHL level but tends to look lost at times in his own zone and can be caught with a man wide open at the side of the net that he is supposed to be covering at even strength. He has a tendency to chase more than he likely should as well. By that, I mean that he uses a lot of energy to get to a puck in the corner where he clearly isn’t going to gain the first touch on. He tends to lunge at loose pucks and the opposition can spin off or simply be quicker with a move and get right by Johansson. This part of his game really worries me about the NHL potential in Johansson’s game but let me tell you, he can shoot the puck!
We like that Johansson has gained the coach’s trust and become the lead dog on the right side of the defence corps. He is currently playing on both the power play as well as the penalty kill for Frölunda. We also like that he is averaging 22:25 of ice time over his last 10 games in the SHL. This is a big jump from what we saw last season when Johansson only played 16:45 per game.
Though the ice time has been impressive over his last 10 games, the worry still remains about his defending. His possession numbers are not great over the previous 10 games. Johansson is sporting a 44.8% Corsi and a 43.7% control of expected goals over that stretch.
Overall, you have a skilled 22-year-old defenceman who is bound for North America next season, we just don’t know if he is ready to take on the challenge that is defending at the NHL level. He will need to make big improvements in his own zone to even get a chance to play at the NHL level and will require time in the AHL to work on that part of his game. The exciting news is that he is a right-shot defenceman who can shoot the puck with accuracy and contribute on the power play. We don’t think he will have trouble creating offence at the AHL level and that will help with his confidence while he looks to grow the weaker parts of his game.
With his weaker defending, we look at him as a player who will need significant AHL time before he is given a real look at the NHL level. Being in the AHL will be a good spot for him to develop his game and see what pro hockey is all about in North America. If he is capable of improving his defensive side while getting accustomed to North American hockey — there is an NHL future there. If he is unable to improve on some of his decision-making in the defensive zone, he will likely just stay an AHLer until he decides to go back to Sweden down the road.
It’s a good swing for the Canucks who had to spend nothing but a contract spot on this former first-round pick. He plays a position of need for the Canucks’ prospect system and will be very close to the NHL organization next year.
We expect him to play in the AHL for the 2023-24 season and maybe get into some games if there are injuries to the NHL roster. Right now, we have him further along than right-shot defenceman Jett Woo and more talented than right-shot defenceman Noah Juulsen. As a result, Johansson should have a decent shot of getting some chances at the NHL level as soon as next season.
He’s a right-shot defenceman! And for that, we have a little bit of hope that he can make the necessary improvements and one day become an NHL contributor.
This concludes our eighth-ranked prospect report. We will be back tomorrow with number seven on the rankings!
  1. Filip Johansson
  2. Jacob Truscott
  3. Arshdeep Bains
Honourable Mentions: Aku Koskenvuo, Joni Jurmo, Connor Lockhart, and Kirill Kudryavtsev.

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