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Wild signs Simon Johansson to rookie contract

Minnesota secures one of their older European prospects.

Minnesota Wild v Washington Capitals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

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.

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.

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.