Kent Johnson had a good year at the University of Michigan, albeit a COVID-19 affected season. He can play left wing or center. His year at Michigan was an eye-opener. His nine goals and 18 assists were a solid freshman season. The fact that the Canadian forward was named to the Big-Ten All-Freshman team and All-Big Ten Honorable Mention is noteworthy. He is one of the best players in the 2021 NHL Draft.
Some highlights were a five-point game against MSU and the fact that he was ranked third in the nation in rookie points per game. These were all good signs.
“Kent and I work well with each other, and we build off each other,” said linemate, Matty Beniers. “He’s an extremely skilled player. He sees the ice well. Playing with smart players is great. He wins puck battles. We know where each other is on the ice, and he can put the puck in the back of the net, and so can I.
At 6-1, 165, it will take some time for him to mature physically, but mentally he may be ahead of the game for his age group. The way that he can cycle the puck in the corner and keep the opposition from getting it bodes well since that will improve as he gets stronger in the future.
“Transitioning to winger at the college level, I just got better with my wall play. I’m trying to get more explosive with my skating. I think I’m a really good skater with good edge work. I think I can be faster in a straight line,” Johnson stated.
Puck possession and vision are two key parts of Johnson’s game, and he is aware of that.
“Those are two assets in my game and things I try to work on. I try to use them every night, and I think it helps,” said Johnson
“I’ve worked on my vision and problem-solving skills a lot (this can be done off ice). When I’m out there, I’m not thinking too much about it,” Johnson added. “When I watch the game over, I can say ‘wow, that was something really good that I did there, and it’s definitely rewarding.’”
Johnson can make space for himself on the ice with some dekes that he has in his arsenal. I think Johnson will be a winger at the NHL level and a really good one.
I think Johnson will be a top-six forward. He can be a 60-75 point player if everything breaks right. This prospect has a tremendous upside, and that’s why he’s a guaranteed Top-10 selection. He hasn’t played in a while, but there’s plenty of solid game footage to look at, and that should speak for itself.