Friday, June 11, 2010

First round draft spotlight: Ryan Johansen

Ryan Johansen, C Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
6-2, 190
Born: July 31, 1992 in Port Moody, British Columbia
Shoots: Right

Scouting report: Slick, playmaking center with natural size has made a quantum leap in his development over a short period of time and has a lot of potential at the next level.

Strengths: Outstanding passer who keeps his head up, has a good feel for the flow of a game and finds openings in opposing defenses. Long arms and reach; able to dangle and maintain control of the puck under pressure. Excellent hockey sense; has superb vision, surveys the ice very well and is able to read the play before it fully develops, hitting teammates in stride/the position to get off a shot or generate a quality scoring chance. Very creative; sees things on the ice others don't...and never will. Makes good decisions with and without the puck. Solid stickhandler who uses his size and reach to protect the puck. Possesses a hard shot and quick release; began shooting the puck with a lot more authority as the season went on and his goal scoring totals rose as a result.

Weaknesses: Skating stride is awkward and appears unbalanced at times; has grown rapidly over the last two years, so may still be developing his coordination. Still gives up good shooting opportunities to pass the puck away; needs to show a willingness to be a little more selfish when the opportunity presents itself. Not a very physical player, but will play in traffic and uses his size well to shield the puck and gain position in front of the net.

Style compares to: Eric Staal, Joe Thornton

Draft prediction: 12th overall to Anaheim. Johansen is the best player available on the board for the Ducks and will be too tempting to pass up. He's a player who seems to be just scratching the surface of what he could become, and being based in Portland, Anaheim will have had an ample scouting presence at a lot of his games. Also possible here is local draft prospect Emerson Etem, who grew up in Long Beach and would be a fan favorite pick. However, Johansen is a much more complete player than Etem is, and he doesn't have the risky "bust factor" Etem carries. Other options: Derek Forbort, Alexander Burmistrov, Austin Watson.

Projection: Solid 2nd-line center with 70-80 point upside. Johansen is likely to be more of a setup man with the size and skill to handle the challenges of the NHL, and will probably see time on special teams if he makes it to the show. Can also be an effective third-liner if his production doesn't warrant a top-six role.

Background: Was 5-9, 150 pounds as a bantam before hitting his major growth spurt. Made a verbal commitment to Northeastern University before Portland GM/coach Mike Johnston convinced him to go the WHL route. Spent most of the 08-09 season on the fourth line of the Penticton Vees before playing his way into a top-six role for the playoffs (posted just five goals and 17 points in 47 games last season). Centered all-draft line in Portland with wingers Nino Niederreiter and Brad Ross; scored 25 goals and 69 points in 71 games in his first WHL campaign. Favorite NHL team: San Jose Sharks Favorite NHL player: Joe Thornton


"He has good on-ice vision and also angles well on the forecheck. He has the intelligence to play power-play as well as penalty kill. He can be shifty and has the ability to beat a defenseman one-on-one. Once he fills out and gains more strength he could turn raw talent into a valuable center at both ends of rink. He has displayed nice playmaking capabilities and this should continue at the next level."- NHL Central Scouting's B.J. McDonald to

"Ryan Johansen has really good vision. He’s a prototypical big center – good hands, good vision, distributes the puck well, and protects the puck well in order to make plays. He’s a young kid who we use in a lot of different situations, the power play, penalty kill and key faceoffs."- Portland Winterhawks GM/head coach Mike Johnston to

"Terrific vision and passing ability. Has a knack for protecting the puck down low, drawing the defense out of position, and then hitting linemates with a sharp pass. Dynamic ability was a revelation in the 2nd half. Started creating off the rush more and beating d-men with some fancy stickhandles. You might wish his shooting touch was a bit better, but his offensive game projects well and could be one of those 2-to-1 assist-to-goal type guys that are so valuable."-Red Line Report's Mike Remmerde on his NHL Draft Notes blog; June, 2010

"I'm a big fan. His playmaking ability blows me away. I try to learn tips from him every time I watch him on He does a lot of good things well, but I'd say the biggest thing I try to learn from him is how he protects the puck and makes plays."- Ryan Johansen on Joe Thornton to; March, 2010

"He's a big, strong power forward and extremely skilled and patient with the puck. I can still remember this one play he made, where he came across the blue line, slammed on the brakes and sucked me to him and just made this no-look pass to Nino flying around him."- Kamloops defenseman Austin Madaisky on Johansen to; March, 2010

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