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2021 NHL Draft Profile: Kent Johnson

“I’ve never seen a guy who can do the things he can do. But he’s a lot more than just skill and flash.”
Kent Johnson

BORN Oct. 18, 2002, Vancouver, B.C.

2020-21 Michigan POS C

HT 6-1 WT 165 SHOOTS L

INTERNATIONAL SCOUTING SERVICES No. 9

When teammate and fellow draft prospect Matty Beniers saw Johnson practice for the first time with the University of Michigan this season, the first thing he did was call his father. “I was like, ‘Dad, he’s just crazy skilled,’ ” Beniers said. “I’ve never seen a guy who can do the things he can do. But he’s a lot more than just skill and flash.” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said Johnson was the team’s most improved player this year.

Scouts generally concur with those assessments, but some are concerned he needs more elements to his game. “He wants to be the fanciest guy on the ice all the time, so that makes you a little nervous,” said one scout. “He’s more of an artiste. I’m a little concerned as to the grit factor. If someone punches him in the mouth, will he push back?”

But there’s a lot to like from an offensive standpoint. Prior to Michigan, Johnson had 101 points for the Trail Smoke Eaters in the B.C. Jr. A League, where he was named MVP and the top forward in Canadian Jr. A. “His hands are extremely soft, he can make any kind of play,” said another scout. “He can handle the puck in traffic. He has a good release. An excellent offensive arsenal on that kid.”

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