Just days away from the beginning of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Minnesota Wild have signed one of their defenseman prospects that were overseas.
Announced by the team on Thursday, the Wild have signed Simon Johansson to a two-year, entry-level contract that begins next season.
NEWS: We have signed defenseman Simon Johansson to a two-year, entry-level contract starting with the 2022-23 season.#mnwild— x - Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) April 28, 2022
Johansson, 22, is a right-handed blueliner that was drafted by the Wild way back in 2018 in the fifth round. Since then, he has spent time with three different organizations in the Swedish hockey system before eventually moving over to Finland, to play for Ilves Tampere this year after not finding that much time in the SHL.
In his debut Liiga season, Johansson scored eight goals and 32 points through 58 games. Standing at 6-foot-2, he isn’t necessarily a slight, quick-moving blueliner that will rush the puck up the ice, but he can be a stable force and was heralded for his offensive play when he was a teenager.
He still has a shot at the very least.
Simon Johansson eventually finds the back of the net after one hell of a shift. His second of the season. He can hammer a puck #mnwild pic.twitter.com/b45bnB5nfI— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) December 13, 2021
Given that Johansson will be 23 years old at the start of next season, one has to imagine that he will get a very long look at by the coaching staff to play a significant role for AHL Iowa, and if he impresses enough, can be the first call-up if any injuries on the blue line occurs.
Unfortunately for the signee, Minnesota already has a logjam on the blue line and solidified it even more so throughout the season. Whether it was trading for Jake Middleton, or signing Jon Merrill and Alex Goligoski to multi-year contract extensions, the top of the depth chart has become very full and too thick for any young defenseman to break through.