2012 NHL Draft Scouting Report: Ben Johnson
Heading into the season, Ben Johnson was one of the more unheralded prospects for the 2012 NHL Draft. Signed by the Windsor Spitfires out of Calumet High School in Michigan, Johnson went undrafted in his first two years of eligibility, but mainly due to his lack of exposure. In his first year in the Ontario Hockey League he had the typical rookie struggles. He struggled with the pace of play and the lack of time, and was not as strong offensively as one would have assumed. Once the Calendar changed to 2012, things started to click for Johnson. He made quicker decisions, and was much more comfortable with the puck in both the neutral and offensive zone. He still has a while to go, but you have to like his long term upside as a smart two way forward with some untapped offensive upside.
Johnson’s best asset is his mobility. He is one of the best pure skater’s in the age group, and has top end footwork and mobility. His outside speed is outstanding, as he has the ability to go wide on almost any defenceman in the OHL. He is still raw, but shows strong long-term offensive upside. He may never be a natural goal scorer, but he makes smart decisions with the puck, and has the skills and vision to make things happen in the offensive zone. He still has room to grow with his overall puck skills, but the potential is there.
Johnson has some room to grow with his positional play. At times he struggles with his ability to be in the right place at the right time, and does not have enough focus in his own zone. He brings a good compete level and always tries hard, just looks to get lost once and a while in his own end. He will get there one day, but at this point his positional play is a work in progress. He has room to grow with his core strength. Once again, the effort is there, but at times he struggles with his strength on the puck, as bigger and stronger defenceman can knock him off of the puck. He engages physically, but needs to continue to work on his core strength.
Individual skill Rankings (out of 10)
Skill : 7
Hockey Sense: 7
Positional Play: 7
Johnson is projected to be a smart two way forward at the next level. He wont be a strong offense catalyst, however he does have the ability to be a depth player who scores between 15-25 goals.
Johnson is projected as a high to mid third round draft selection, and should be drafted in the 70th to 90th overall pocket.