Toronto Maple Leafs’ Andreas Johnsson beginning to ship, rapidly | NHL


How briskly is Andreas Johnsson? 

Garret Sparks didn’t assume that was the correct query. The goaltender, who has performed with Johnsson the previous two seasons with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League and now this season with the Maple Leafs within the Nationwide Hockey League, mentioned it’s extra about how fast is he.

“He’s simply bought, I assume you could possibly name it nitrous oxide, he’s bought the button,” Sparks advised the Sporting Information. “He’s bought a respectable pace increase. He would possibly reserve it for when he simply wants it however clearly, he’s a extremely efficient participant when he’s hitting that button rather a lot…You don’t see him till you discover him due to how briskly he’s shifting.”

Simply ask Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim. Johnsson victimized him per week in the past to cap off an astounding hat trick achieved within the span of seven:35 within the first interval of what turned out to be a 6-Zero Maple Leafs win and considerably of a popping out occasion for Toronto’s 24-year outdated rookie ahead. 

On that third aim, the defenseman was reaching for a free puck on the proper faceoff dot however didn’t discover Johnsson behind him. Then Johnsson hit “the button” and inside 4 seconds, he had caught Sanheim from behind, stole the puck and in the reduction of to the web to slip it five-hole on the goaltender, and former teammate, Calvin Pickard.

In actual fact, it triggered Sparks’ reminiscence of one other well-known aim in Maple Leafs historical past: Auston Matthews second profession aim in his NHL debut in opposition to the Ottawa Senators, when he discovered a burst of pace to catch Erik Karlsson from behind alongside the half-boards, stole the puck and lower to the web to slip it five-hole on goaltender Craig Anderson.

If you happen to watch carefully Sparks mentioned, you’ll discover nuances of their video games that Matthews and Johnsson share. 

“Very comparable, comparable play,” Sparks mentioned. “There are similarities between Matthews and Johnsson offensively. They’re refined however I’d say it’s the quickness and the tempo they’re in a position to do issues at, simply that explosive elevate and go.”

After impressing with two objectives and one help in 9 common season video games throughout a late-season call-up final season, and two factors in six playoff video games, the Swede managed only one help by his first ten video games this season. At occasions he was a wholesome scratch. 

MORE: Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott amongst gamers invited to Canada’s WJC camp

The offensive drought additionally examined Johnsson who had grown accustomed to filling the web with 54 factors (26 objectives, 28 assists) in 54 AHL common season video games final season. Within the postseason he added 24 factors (10 objectives, 14 assists) in 16 video games en path to a Calder Cup Championship and the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy because the playoff MVP.

“It’s just a little irritating at all times,” he mentioned. “Earlier than that hat trick, I felt like I created a variety of probabilities and I skated exhausting. I felt like I gave the staff one thing throughout the sport. It’s simply attempting to remain optimistic understanding ultimately it’s going to go in.”

Johnsson famous in an interview with the Sporting Information a couple of days after his first-career NHL hat trick that, “it gave me a confidence increase. It feels good to attain on probabilities you get. It’s been just a little bit publish and out for me however now it appears publish and in.

“That’s hockey however now my confidence goes up.”

It took an damage to Matthews on October 27 to get Johnsson, who had sat two video games in a row, again within the lineup. Since then, he took benefit of his alternative taking part in on a 3rd line alongside heart Par Lindholm and proper wing Connor Brown. 

Again in coaching camp when confronted with questions on an absent William Nylander, coach Mike Babcock responded by saying it provides another person a chance and that “possibly we’ll discover a participant.” Nylander’s absence allowed the Maple Leafs to “discover” Kasperi Kapanen. Matthews’ damage allow them to “discover” Johnsson, who responded with 5 factors in 14 video games and two extra factors as Matthews’ linemate in his return on Wednesday in opposition to the San Jose Sharks.

MORE: William Nylander, Maple Leafs conform to contract at 11th hour

When Babcock was requested on Nov. 27, after Johnsson went scoreless in 12:06 in opposition to the Boston Bruins, how a lot completely different a participant he appears like since his banishment to the press field earlier within the season, the top coach pressured he nonetheless has work to do.

“Each single night time within the league, you need to be no matter you might be,” mentioned Babcock. “It’s important to work out over time what your degree watermark is and he’s getting higher, he’s feeling extra assured and he has to proceed to try this to have success.”

Now 30 video games into his NHL profession, Johnsson mentioned he’s beginning to turn into extra comfy with the variations between the AHL and NHL and the way greatest to make the most of his ability set.

“After all, you get scoring probabilities in numerous areas,” Johnsson mentioned. “Generally you need to shoot faster and different alternatives you need to be extra affected person. It’s a quick sport on the market so typically you simply need to do easy stuff and look ahead to the alternatives.

“I really feel like I can do [everything I did in the AHL] within the NHL too however I simply have to decide on my occasions when to do it. Within the AHL I felt like I may virtually pressure a play to make a transfer. Within the NHL, simply not as typically.”

Sparks was happy with Johnsson following that three-goal efficiency, a sport by which the netminder turned apart 34 photographs for his second profession NHL shutout. He mentioned that night time that he didn’t need to put a ceiling on how good a participant Johnsson may very well be; nonetheless, together with his ability set, he sees a participant destined for a protracted NHL profession.​

Now with 5 factors in his previous three video games, Johnsson appears as if his expertise is beginning to present by with an improved sense of confidence. However with the roster to be shuffled quickly because of the return of Nylander, he has not let himself really feel too comfy.

“For me, it’s been the entire season to get a spot, I used to be a wholesome scratch to start with,” mentioned Johnsson. “For a man like me, I must battle on daily basis to show I’m going to be within the lineup nonetheless. It’s early to go however I really feel like thus far I really feel like I can do the stuff I need on the ice, I simply need to maintain working exhausting so hopefully, I can do the entire season.”

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