As the Toronto Maple Leafs looked for teams to take on their cap crunch, Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald was able to swap Joey Anderson for Andreas Johnsson. Johnsson’s contract is on the books until the end of the 2022-23 season. I had reached out to Dave McCarthy, who covers the Leafs for NHL.com, and he told me he expects top-six minutes from the Swedish forward on New Jersey’s left-wing.
What top-six left wing minutes means for the Devils is Jesper Bratt, Nikita Gusev, Miles Wood and Johnsson are currently slated for the left wing depth chart. Like recent days, that can change again. My expectation from Johnsson in New Jersey is that he won’t have to stress about the big Toronto market media overhyping his team. I see the fact that he is gonna play with Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes as his centers, and in doing so, will bring speed and skill to a line of players with high hockey IQ.
Johnsson is a very smooth and very agile skater with a generous amount of speed. Andreas plays a great two-way game while also an excellent puck protector and carrier. He views the open ice in the defensive end and does a great job taking away passing lanes in the neutral zone. This often results in odd man rushes. Johnsson is accustomed to skating with forwards like Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Kasperi Kapanen.
Johnsson has solid NHL level stick handling and finds ways to score in high danger areas, whether it’s a goal, if not, the assist. He has very good peripheral vision and is a hungry forward looking to strike when he is not used as the decoy with a strong centreman setting him up.
In a nutshell, Johnsson averages 22 points per season and that all can balloon up playing with a young, skilled and speedy New Jersey team. Having coach Lindy Ruff and Mark Recchi at the helm and Ryan Murray in the lineup, that should bring defensive stability which should be rewarding for the hockey club’s coaching staff. GM Tom Fitzgerald seems he’s not yet satisfied in making moves to improve the team’s roster. As such, this is a big key start to New Jersey’s offseason before training camp commences.