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2021 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Kent Johnson, another center, another Wolverine

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This scoring centerman is needed in Columbus

NCAA Hockey: Big Ten Hockey Tournament-Michigan vs Ohio State South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NETWORK

We are less than a month away from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft (July 23-24), so it’s time to start researching the prospects likely to be selected in the first round. The Columbus Blue Jackets currently hold three picks in that round: #5, #24, and #30 or #31.

Kent Johnson

Position: Center
Team: University of Michigan
Date of Birth: October 18, 2002
Birthplace: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 165 lbs
Shoots: Left

Rankings

Ranked #10 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #9 by FCHockey
Ranked #7 by Neutral Zone
Ranked #15 by McKeen’s Hockey
Ranked #3 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #9 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #8 by TSN/McKenzie

2019-20 Stats

League: BCHL with Trail Smoke Eaters “A”
Games Played: 52
Goals: 41
Assists: 60
Points: 101
PIM: 14

2020-21 Stats

League: NCAA with University of Michigan
Games Played: 26
Goals: 9
Assists: 18
Points: 27
PIM: 4

The Jackets need scorers, plain and simple. Kent Johnson lit up the BCHL with the most goals and assists and was voted MVP for the 2019-2020 season. His transition to the NCAA appeared seamless as he continued his prolific scoring: he was third in the nation for scoring, second on the U of M squad (which has many eligible players for this year’s draft). He’s fast, creative, but a little lower on the BMI calculator than ideal. That should improve with fancy NHL buffets, professional strength training programs and simply aging out of teenager years. He’s a playmaker with a high hockey IQ and a unique ability to read the game. He’s got an unpredictable repertoire of shots with a wicked backhand.

The Jackets are also in dire need of depth at center and playmaking positions, not just at the professional level but throughout the organization, especially after trading Pierre-Luc Dubois and the slower than anticipated development of Liam Foudy and Alexandre Texier. Re-stocking players projected as possible NHL-caliber centermen is a must through the draft.

Scouting Reports

A magician with his backhand and the vision to seek out his goal-scoring linemates, Johnson might have the plainest name of the draft but his game is polar opposite. — Thomas P. Williams, SBNation Hockey Wilderness

One thing you don’t get with Kent Johnson is power. He’s not an explosive skater, though he is fast, and he’s not at all big or strong for his size. He has the height, which means he has a framework to build on, but he’s definitely not ready to start pushing and shoving with NHL defensemen just yet. — Jenna Verrica, SBNation All About The Jersey,

He’s an unreal puckhandler, a deceptive playmaker, and an adept goal-scorer. There’s so much to like about his game…The question is whether Johnson has a strong enough two-way game to play centre at the NHL level or if he will end up as a complementary left winger instead. — Daniel Wagner, Vancouverisawesome.com

Highlights