The Vancouver Canucks have nabbed one of the more interesting European free agents on the market this offseason. The team today announced the signing of defenseman Filip Johansson, a first-round pick of the Minnesota Wild, to a two-year, entry-level contract. Financial terms are unavailable at this time.
Drafted 24th overall in 2018 by Minnesota, the now-22-year-old’s development in the SHL had stalled over the past few seasons, leading the Wild to the decision to not offer Johansson an entry-level contract as his exclusive signing rights expired on June 1. The 6′ 1″, 176 lb defenseman’s best hockey came in the 2022 postseason, notching five goals and two assists in just nine games with Frölunda HC.
Vancouver general manager Patrik Allvin evidently disagrees with the Wild’s assessment of the player, saying in the team’s release that Johansson “plays a solid defensive game and has shown consistent improvement over the past three seasons.” Allvin also noted that the team will loan Johansson back to Frölunda for the 2022-23 season, meaning Canucks fans won’t get a chance to see their new prospect on North American ice just yet. However, Johansson will attend Canucks development camp next month.
Johansson joins a Canucks prospect pool on defense that lacks much to be truly excited about other than Jack Rathbone and Jett Woo, and he’ll become a giant wild card for the organization. If Johansson can regain his development and reach the defensive ceiling he had when the Wild drafted him, it’ll be a gamble worth taking for the Canucks. If not, Vancouver gave up no assets to obtain the player other than a contract slot. It’s a solid bet from Allvin and the Canucks organization to take a chance on the Swedish defenseman.