We stay with the University of Michigan, as we continue this series of looking at 2021 NHL Draft prospects. This time, we take a look at North Vancouver native Kent Johnson.
The Michigan Wolverines men’s ice hockey team if filled with a ton of star power, starting with team captain Cam York, defensive teammate Owen Power and big named forwards such as John Beecher and Brendan Brisson. There is a lot of punch on this roster and Kent Johnson is a major part of it.
Johnson is a multi-gear hockey player who can go from 0-100 quick and easy, as well as being one of those players who can take over a game at various levels. He has the skill to compete with the best of them in the NCAA and he’s put up 18 points so far.
The forward is among the top prospects heading into this year’s NHL Draft. His skill is worthy of a high draft choice, and when it comes to his qualities, he has many elite ones.
First off, he’s a dynamic skater. He’s quite efficient as he slows down, stops and bursts up ice without missing a beat or losing the puck. He often pulls off dekes and maneuvers because of his skating ability and it elevates his potential ceiling.
His ability to fluently move around not only helps his game, but his teammates as well by getting into areas and passing lanes easily and speeding up plays, whether it’s on a rush or a cycle.
Going along with his skating, he has great puck skills and puck protection. His quick hands and deking ability makes him a dangerous player for any defender. His movement is very similar to longtime Chicago Blackhawk winger, Patrick Kane.
The confidence, elusiveness and drive is almost identical, as well as the way they move and handle the puck. Both are among the scariest at this and it’s one of Johnson’s most valuable abilities, especially when attacking opposing players. He’s had a handful of highlight reel goals throughout the years and we don’t expect that to stop.
Johnson, 18, remains a dangerous player at all times. The centreman is a dual threat, and though he is a pass-first player, he has an underrated shot that is often overlooked by opposing players. He’s known to be more of a playmaker, finishing with more assists than goals during the regular season over the past three years. He’s worked on his shot and release more and more and has found ways to shoot and score in recent seasons.
He wants to be as much of a balanced offensive player as possible, so he has put a bigger emphasis on scoring this year and seasons ahead. This is very attractive to teams looking to draft forwards early on in the draft.
What he lacks in physicality, he makes up for in talent, but don’t mistake that for being soft or being a pushover. His compete is what allows him to balance the playing field physically and his skill is what allows him to separate himself from the rest. Expect him to keep producing with Michigan and continue to raise his game during the conference elimination rounds and possibly with an appearance in the frozen four. Michigan is a good team and Kent Johnson is a major part of it.