Team: Dallas Stars
https://www.iheartradio.ca/

Fantasy Summary

A tactical two-way forward who has some positional versatility with the ability to play on the wing or down the middle. Johnston improved throughout the year, becoming a much more dangerous player in the second half of the season but because he plays in the OHL, the World Under-18s will be his only high-level competition in his draft year.


Observations

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September 2022 – While Mavrik Bourque and Logan Stankoven may be right on his tail, Johnston remains alone at the top of Dallas’ prospect pool. Already touted as a two-way player at the 2021 draft, Johnston has improved significantly both defensively and offensively. Johnston’s 124 points in 68 OHL games won him league MVP, and his 41 points in 25 playoff games carried the Windsor Spitfires through a deep run before falling one game short to the Hamilton Bulldogs. Johnston’s IQ stands above the pack, and his situational awareness is phenomenal. His basic toolkit is strong, with speedy and slick hands, a powerful stride and an NHL-calibre shot (despite being a playmaker). He can play in all situations, and is convincingly NHL ready based on a small training camp sample thus far. If Johnston makes the NHL this year then he would be a legitimate contender for the Calder trophy, and should be put among the ranks of the very best U20 players in hockey. Aaron Itovitch

 

June 2022 – Johnston has continued to excel with the Windsor Spitfires. In 18 playoff games, he has 31 points, driving play on a fantastic line with Will Cuylle (60th overall, 2020 – NYR) and Matt Maggio (2022 Eligible), slightly below his phenomenal regular season point per game average of 1.824. He is also a +18 through the playoffs thus far, indicative of his continuously improving defensive play. Having won both the OHL’s Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy (Regular Season Points Leader) and the William Hanley Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike Player), Johnston is further proving that he will more than likely be on the opening night roster in September. His head coach, Marc Savard said in January “I don’t know what else he (Johnston) can do at this level”. Savard also made comparisons of Johnston’s play to Patrice Bergeron’s elite defensive game. Savard believes Johnston could become an even better player than Bergeron – not bad for a late 1st round pick from less than a year ago.

His elite IQ and vision continue to impress, with his high-end puck-handling along the blue line allowing him longer opportunities in the offensive zone; opportunities that often end with a puck in the back of the net. A player with very few glaring deficiencies (his pacing has room to improve), Johnston is a force at 5-on-5, the PK and the PP, and his skill set will transition well to the NHL sooner rather than later. Aaron Itovitch

 

July 2021 – Johnston was selected in the first round, 23rd overall by the Dallas Stars in the 2021 NHL Draft. Nick Richard

 

April 2021 – Unfortunately for Johnston, like many OHL players, he has not played any competitive hockey since the OHL shutdown 14 months ago. He will be on the Canadian roster for the upcoming World Under-18 Championships in Texas, looking to use that limited sample to showcase his game for the NHL scouts that would love a look at how his development has gone during the pandemic. What teams will be looking to see is his tactical and diagnostic approach to the game of hockey. He understands how to work the game and plays very detail-oriented hockey. The Windsor Spitfire forward was displaying more and more puck skill as the season wore on, becoming more involved offensively from about the New Year on during the 2019-20 season. As the season progressed, he found himself on a line with Jean-Luc Foudy and Will Cuylle, two 2020 draft prospects who had seen their seasons go a bit sideways. He seemed to unlock what was missing for much of the season with the two top-75 picks. The line became competitive on most shifts and Johnston was very much the player who seemed to settle things down and get things moving in the right direction. He was an excellent outlet for defenders in offensive transitions, providing support along the wall and he was able to be a bumper in the neutral zone for the high-flying Foudy to defer to if he was being closed-in upon. Johnston may not have been the driver for that line but he seemed to be the engine that made things run smoothly. His defensive game was also key to covering up teammates’ deficiencies throughout the season, regardless of what line he was on. He was adept at putting himself in a position to cut off passes and thwart cycles in his own end, finding a way to get the puck on to his or a teammate’s stick. Offensively, his shot is the weapon that really seems to be what could make him a more dangerous offensive player. He doesn’t have a booming release but he shoots from dangerous spots on the ice and locates his shot well. He has some sneaky skill that he doesn’t have to use all the time but can break it out from time to time. The U18s will be interesting because it will be his one opportunity during his draft year to put something on tape. With his style of play, he shouldn’t have much to worry about because he plays a smart and strategic game that relies on his ability to read the play which he should be able to rely on while his feet get under him at the U18s. Tony Ferrari 

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 9.5
NHL Certainty 9.0
Country CAN
Position C
Roster Type Junior
Shoot/Glove Right
Date of Birth May 14, 2003
Height 6‘1”
Weight 178 lbs
Drafted 2021 Round 1; Overall: 23

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2011-2012 Toronto Pro Hockey Brick Invitational6 3 36 2|Playoffs1 0 11
 2012-2013 Toronto Pro Hockey Brick Invitational6 5 38 0|        
 2014-2015 Pro Hockey Hutson Selects U12WSI U129 8 513 6|        
 2015-2016 East Coast Selects O U13WSI U137 4 711 4|        
 2017-2018 Toronto Marlboros U15 AAAGTHL U15- - -- -|        
  Maroon Hockey Selects U15