Wanted: Detroit Red Wings for robbery (feat. Albert Johansson)

While the Detroit Red Wings have taken steps in the standings, it’s apparent that their prospects have suffered. None more so than Albert Johansson. 
2022 NHL Draft - Round One
2022 NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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What’s next for Johansson?

Johansson gets to go home and train in the offseason to prepare to play in the best league in the world. While a player can prepare all he wants for the NHL, until they actually play games in the NHL, there really isn’t a way to be prepared.  

Shoot, it took 2.5 seasons for Lucas Raymond to fully “get” the NHL. Moritz Seider is still adjusting to the NHL. These players are 2 of the smartest, most abnormal players that the Detroit Red Wings have had in recent memory and they have struggled. They’ve had the opportunities to adequately prepare and still face struggles.

Now, Johansson is a very smart player. It’s his trademark both on and off the ice, a very intelligent individual. If anyone makes the jump to the NHL relatively smoothly my money is on Johansson. 

He likely sees a few games on the second or third pair throughout the preseason, getting every opportunity to “prove his worth” to the team. When he shows that he belongs, it’s likely Johansson starts as a third pair defenseman. 

My dream defensive partner for Johansson is Seider, but Johansson is likely 1-3 seasons from those types of minutes (he needs to gain more strength and improve his conditioning overall). His playmaking and defensive reliability should help Seider get more confidence, enabling his offensive side even more.

Ideally, in Johansson’s first season, I think Olli Määttä would be his initial partner. Both play an excellent 2-way game. Määttä is especially good in his own zone. At his best, Johansson is reading the opponents like a good book, knowing exactly where to be to kill their play before it begins. Once he gets the puck, he easily transitions the puck up the ice. He can make a decent outlet pass or carry the puck himself. 

As he gains confidence, things should improve overall as well. Likely, there is untapped offensive potential that I hope Johansson and the Detroit Red Wings can nurture. Maybe that was the hope of leaving Johansson in the AHL all season.

In the long run, I think Johansson has the chops to take a spot out of camp next season and not look back and maybe that’s why the Detroit Red Wings are confident in him. Or maybe they, like many of us fans, expected many more injuries to the big club than occurred last season.

While the player himself will end up being fine, his situation represents a potential weakness in the Detroit Red Wings system. There are no shortcuts in chasing the Stanley Cup. 

It is a long, tedious, and lucky process. 

A prioritization should be placed on the young players as they’re the ones who will be the difference-makers for the Detroit Red Wings, which includes Johansson. Yes, they have to earn their spot, but it should be more balanced than it was this season.

The steps to get to the Cup should be in the forefront of everyone’s mind with the the grand prize just in our peripheral vision. 

If we focus only on the goal of winning the Cup, we’re bound to trip and fall like a cartoon in a snowball rolling downhill.

June 11 1. The NHL salary cap will rise significantly adding to an already exciting offseason. dark. Next