DRAFT YEAR PRODUCTION: Michigan (NCAA) 26 GP, 9G, 18A, 27 PTS
RANKING: 3rd Ranked North American Skater - Central Scouting
WHAT'S THE BUZZ
"He's got an elite package. His skating, his size, and his strength are things that will need to continue to improve to really be able to step into the NHL against these big, strong defensemen. I just think he's got the potential to lead the NHL in scoring one day." - A Scout, per NHL.com
CUT TO THE CHASE
It's one of the big storylines of the upcoming NHL Draft. Michigan runs the top.
Three of Michigan's players could go in the top 10 of the first round, and that's not even counting Luke Hughes, brother of Jack, who is committed to the school.
Owen Power is the consensus top prospect, Matty Beniers is largely considered a top-five talent going somewhere in the top 10, and then there's Kent Johnson, who NHL Central Scouting ranks above Hughes and Beniers.
Johnson's skill with the puck can be described as an art form.
"His hands are extremely soft," said a scout, according to The Hockey News. "He can make any kind of play."
His offensive ability was on full display in his final season in the BCHL, where he was named League MVP after compiling 41 goals and 60 assists for 101 points in 52 games.
Here are some other recognitions:
- First Team All-Star
- Most Assists
- Most Goals
- Most Sportsmanlike Player (Bob Fenton Trophy)
- Top Scorer (Brett Hull Trophy)
But could he do it at a higher level? Of course, he could. Johnson was named to the NCAA B1G All-Rookie Team last season. In his Freshman year at Michigan, Johnson scored nine goals and added 18 assists for 27 points in 26 games. His 27 points were second on the team just three behind the leader Thomas Bordeleau, a second-round pick of the Sharks in 2020.
Mike Morreale from NHL.com has a great write-up on Johnson in which he talked to NHL evaluators on the condition of anonymity. One of them compared Johnson to Patrick Kane.
"I just think he's got that superstar kind of upside that's really special," one said. "He's got an elite package. His skating, his size, and his strength are things that will need to continue to improve to really be able to step into the NHL against these big, strong defensemen. I just think he's got the potential to lead the NHL in scoring one day."