Farjestads BK coach Johan Pennerborn spoke with HockeyNews.se’s Mattias Ek regarding Red Wings prospect Albert Johansson, who’s on loan to Pennerborn’s SHL team. The Swedish coach believes that Johansson would be best-served by spending another year in Sweden. What follows is roughly translated from Swedish:
The Farjestad coach about the NHL-aiming great prospect: “Stay another year”
Stockholm. Detroit-drafted Farjestad defenseman Albert Johansson, 20, has established himself at the SHL level.
But his head coach, Johan Pennerborn, prefers that he wait another season before going to the NHL.
“In my opinion: stay another year. Be a real leader. Grow into it fully. Put on four more kilos,” says Pennerborn.
There was no talk about which team decided the most on the ice at Hovet [Arena]. Farjestad controlled the events against Djurgarden and the defense and goalkeeping work were the key to the Varmlands team’s 3-0 victory.
“It was a message of strength. It gives us self-confidence in the group to keep a shutout, especially away from home. Very nice and a great game by (Henrik) Haukeland in goal,” says FBK defender Albert Johansson to HockeyNews.se.
This was his seventh game in the SHL after returning from the Junior World Championship in Edmonton. Johansson played 18 minutes against Djurgarden.
“It’s been a lot of fun to come back. I was a bit sluggish in the beginning, but this week and the last game I think I have started to find my way back to my game, and am contributing a little more out on the ice,” says Johansson.
He registered both goals and assists during the meeting with Leksand, where Farjestad won 3-2. Against Djurgarden, he played a safe and robust defensive game.
“I want to contribute with a calm demeanor, and be able to set up my teammates with a good first pass. And also be an offensive threat, and be mobile on the blueline. I guess that’s the kind of style I want. Above all, it’s important to spread a calm demeanor, that they should feel safe on the ice [when I’m out there],” says Johansson.
Last season, he played in 42 SHL games for Farjestad and posted 13 points (2 goals and 11 assists). Then he played under 13 minutes per game.
This season, Johansson has scored goals and five assists in 27 games. Now he plays over 16 minutes per game, which is 3rd-most of Swedish Juniors in the SHL. Skelleftea’s Philip Broberg and Djurgarden’s Tomas Bjornfot (now in Los Angeles) have more time on average.
Albert Johansson was the Detroit Red Wings’ second choice in the NHL draft in 2019, and this summer he signed an entry-level contract with the NHL team, and is on loan to Farjestad this season.
“I really just try to work hard every day and take steps in the SHL that I am in right now. Then there is a future plan to go over and play in the NHL. But right now I have my focus on Farjestad and do my utmost every day to become a better hockey player.”
Johansson believes that a gut feeling will tell him when it’s time to take the jump to the NHL.
“You talk to your agent and Detroit in this case, and see what they say. There are some players on this team who have been over there and done a little adventuring, so it’s clear that you play a little ball with them and get an idea of what they think and how things are,” says Albert Johansson.
Farjestad’s head coach, Johan Pennerborn, has a personal opinion about Albert Johansson’s near future, and thinks that it is in the SHL in 2021-2022.
“Albert has all the prerequisites to be a great defenseman,” says Pennerborn.
Do you think that Albert Johansson is ready to be tested in the Tre Kronor [on the national team?]
“The three crowns? Yes, why not,” says Pennerborn.
Albert Johansson gives the impression about being patient with his development. He takes the talk about the Tre Kronor with a pinch of salt.
“I’ve just played in my last junior tournament, and now I play here at home. Like I said, I’m trying to play my game and become a better hockey player. And if the chance should then come, it’s something that would be great fun, but it’s not something I go around thinking about,” says Farjestad’s great talent.
Johansson also speaks with the management staff in Farjestad to get experienced people’s thoughts about their future choices.
“Yes, I talk to the leaders here in Farjestad, and Peter (Jakobsson, the general manager) and see what they say. So far no one was able to find the perfect solution, which is not strange. We focus on this season. But if it comes up that there are such plans, you have to talk to them then.”
Albert Johansson, who is the son of former big defenseman in Farjestad, Roger Johansson, was educated in the Farjestad system, and he comes from its junior ranks.
“I have had to come up and get my chance on the A-Team. I work with them every day, everyone from the fitness trainer to the defensive coach, to Pelle (Prestberg), who is more of a skills coach and takes care of shots. There is pretty much everything I need. There’s not much to complain about there.”
How would you know if you are ready to move to the U.S. and Detroit?
“I want my body to feel ready, both mentally and physically, to go over. It would be a change and you want to be as prepared as possible. Somewhere I feel that I don’t want to stress away [my time]. It’s probably about me feeling ready physically and mentally, and really feeling that it’s time when it really comes.”
Then maybe there is a chance for Farjestad fans to see you here for another season?
“I won’t say too much here now. There is a lot going around in the world right now, and the whole bit. The only thing I know right now is that I will play ready this season in Farjestad, and then I will have to sit down and evaluate and brainstorm some ideas to talk to Detroit, and my agent, and Farjestad, so we can see what happens,” says Albert Johansson, with a future big defenseman’s calm in his voice.