Leading up to the 2010 draft, Flordiapanthers.com will be highlighting some of the top prospects to look out for. At number 3, the Panthers have a lot of players to choose from. What direction and who will they pick?
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THE SHINNY: Ranked as the second best center among North American skaters (Tyler Seguin) Portland's Ryan Johansen knows how to set up his teammates. The pivot set up 12 goals among his 18 points in the WHL playoffs after obtaining 44 of his 69 points during the regular season off of the helper.
Johansen loves to pattern himself after his favorite player, Sharks big man Joe Thornton. That's probably why he picks up so many assists.
NHL Central Scouting's B.J. MacDonald: "He has good on-ice vision and also angles well on the forecheck. He has the intelligence to play power-play as well as penalty kill. He can be shifty and has the ability to beat a defenseman one-on-one. Once he fills out and gains more strength he could turn raw talent into a valuable center at both ends of rink. He has displayed nice playmaking capabilities and this should continue at the next level."
Johansen On Johansen: "Well, I see myself as a Joe Thornton or a Ryan Getzlaf style of player. Playmaking ability and hockey sense and vision and my puck control I think are my four biggest attributes to my game."
NHL Team: San Jose Sharks NHL Player: Joe Thornton Shootout Move: "Through The Legs" Actress: Jessica Alba Movie: Hangover Book: Playing With Fire by Theo Fleury Website: nhl.com Activity Away From The Rink: Golf
This season, with the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks, he passed that number in the middle of January.
So to say there was a bit of an adjustment for the big center is an understatement. However, Johansen turned in a brilliant campaign and made himself a highly-sought after commodity heading into the 2010 Entry Draft, June 25-26 in Los Angeles.
Hawks' Johansen Catching Eye Of NHL Scouts (12.16.09) When a list of the Western Hockey League's top 25 prospects for the 2010 NHL draft was released this fall, four Portland Winterhawks players appeared in the top 13.
The most surprising, at the No. 9 slot, was 17-year-old Ryan Johansen.
A center in his first season in the WHL, Johansen was so lightly regarded in 2007 that he remained available until well after the halfway point of that year's Bantam draft. This season, he has quickly evolved into one of the team's top playmakers and has become one of the most talked-about prospects in the league.