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Leafs AGM reveals surprising comparison for newly-drafted Victor Johansson


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Mike Armenti
July 9, 2024  (10:46)
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Victor Johansson
Photo credit: TSN

The Maple Leafs were criticized for drafting 6'2, 147-pound Victor Johansson, but he's drawn a comparison to a pretty successful NHL defenseman.

Maple Leafs AGM Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser got an up-close and personal look at all of the Leafs prospects and invitees to Leafs Development Camp last week, being one of the main instructors for the camp.
There were a number of standouts from the event that drew some very encouraging reviews from Wickenheiser, including Easton Cowan and Fraser Minten, surprising absolutely no one. However, it was her comparison for 147-pound Victor Johansson, the Leafs' 4th round draft pick this year, that drew the most intrigue.
Typically, for players drafted outside of the top 3 rounds of the draft, the likelihood of playing in the NHL is extremely low. With Johansson, Wickenheiser drew a comparison to a 633-game NHL veteran and former Leaf, John Klingberg.
Like Johansson, Klingberg was a lower pick, drafted in the 5th round back in 2010. Johansson also happens to have a similar build to what Klingberg did during his draft year.
The biggest knock on Johansson was his size. Yes, he's 6'2, but at just 147 pounds, he is very slender and would likely be pushed around at the NHL level, where most players are close to 200 pounds, some well over that mark.
Klingberg, as Wickenheiser pointed out last week, was 158 lbs. when he was drafted, yet he managed to get himself up to 185 lbs. before making his NHL debut. Say what you want about his game now, as he has been struggling in recent years due to injury. But when Klingberg was at his peak, there were few more offensively gifted from the blueline, especially on the power play.
One important factor here is that Johansson's brothers are both over 6'2 and 200 lbs, so there is some growth on the way for the 18-year-old Swede.
Will he develop into peak Klingberg? Well, that may be a stretch. After all, Klingberg was a gifted offensive defenseman, whereas Johansson is more of a two-way player. Thankfully, the Leafs will have some time to develop him and help him grow into his frame outside of the NHL before ever being introduced to the quicker and more physical North American game.
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Leafs AGM reveals surprising comparison for newly-drafted Victor Johansson

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