The Journey: Rising Prospects Forwards

by Brad Phillips on February 17, 2018

It’s that time of the month when I examine some of the biggest risers on Dobber’s top-200 prospect rankings. While other players, such as Ryan Donato and Boris Katchouk, have had larger jumps I covered those players fairly recently here and here so I didn’t feel it necessary to go over them again.


Andreas Johnsson – TOR, up to 127 from 247

Making one of the biggest jumps up the charts is the Maple Leafs’ Andreas Johnsson. Five seasons after being drafted he’s finally knocking on the door of the NHL. Selected in the 2013 draft with the 202nd overall pick, all he’s done since then in produce in a big way.

A product of the Frolunda system, Johnsson came up through the junior program culminating in three successful campaigns with the big club in the SHL where he proceeded to improve year over year. After having a short seven-game stint the previous year, Johnsson played his first full season in the SHL in 2013-14 and scored 15 goals and added nine assists in 44 games. These 24 points were the most by a U20 player and it was good enough for Johnsson to earn the league’s rookie of the year honour.

That same year he was a member of the silver medal winning contingent for team Sweden at the WJHC where he posted six points in seven games. 2014-15 marked his best goal scoring season when he potted 22 goals, which was most on the team, the fifth-best mark in the league, and third on Frolunda with 35 points.

He saved the best for his third and final SHL campaign where he finished the year with 19 goals and 25 helpers. His 44 points were second-best on Frolunda and good for sixth league wide. Johnsson added a pair of goals and assists in 16 playoff games en route to an SHL title.

At the end of the year, the Leafs brought him over to the Marlies to get a taste of North American action. It didn’t go very well for him as he got hammered, and subsequently concussed, in his second game ending his year.

Thankfully, it hasn’t appeared to set him back at all. In his first season with the Marlies, Johnsson finished fourth on the team in points with 47, second in goals with 20, ten of them coming with the man advantage, and added 27 assists. He’s been even more impressive in his encore season. He leads the Marlies in goals with 22 and points with 42 and sits tied third in the league in goal scoring and is eighth in the league in points. Johnsson is currently riding a six-game point streak where he has racked up 13 points along the way. He’s real close to earning an NHL call up, but might need a change of scenery in order to be an impact NHLer in the long run.


Filip Chlapik – OTT, up to 126 from 206

No player in the Senators organization has been a bigger rise over the past couple of seasons than the big Czech. In his draft year in 2014-15, Chlapik formed a lethal duo with fellow 2015 draftee Daniel Sprong, to the tune of 33 goals and 42 helpers. These 75 points placed him 13th in the QMJHL in scoring and his point-per-game average of 1.17 was the 15th best mark in the league. He was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie team and his 33 goals were tops among all first year players. Pretty impressive stuff for the then-17-year old playing in his first North American season.

It’s no surprise that Ottawa was ecstatic to grab a player with that much potential in the middle of the second round. However his draft+1 season was, to put it mildly, disappointing from Ottawa’s perspective. Chlapik still eclipsed the point-per-game plateau by posting 54 points in 52 games but it was the dip in his overall game that concerned the Sens management the most, and earned him a dressing down from Pierre Dorion. Whatever the GM said though, Chlapik took to heart and elevated his game to a whole new level in his third QMJHL campaign. He set career highs across the board to the tune of 35 goals and 57 helpers finishing fourth in league scoring and his point-per-game average of 1.6 was the second highest mark in the league behind teammate Daniel Sprong. Of his 91 points, 69 were of the primary variety and his 35 primary assists were third best in the league. He finished fifth overall in shots, firing 263 on net for a shot per game average of 4.61 which was second best overall. Add it all up and Chlapik was simply one of the best players in the QMJHL last year as his second all-star team nod can attest.

The transition to pro hockey has been a successful one. He’s been one of the best player for Belleville all season and has posted a stat line of seven goals and 13 helpers in 37 games although he sports an ugly minus-15. That is more reflective of the team as a whole though. He’s even managed to see some NHL action, playing in 10 games to date averaging eight and a half minutes per game. He wasted no time making an impact as he registered his first point, an assist, four seconds into his first shift in the NHL. With the Sens going the rebuild route, there might be chance for Chlapik down the stretch to see some more big league action. But he will probably have to wait until next year for a permanent spot.



Jonathan Dahlen – VAN, up to 74 from 121

Ignoring the standings, it’s good to be a Vancouver Canucks fan right now. Not only do they have the best player in the SHL in Elias Pettersson, the also arguably have the top player in the Allsvenskan in Jonathan Dahlen. Dahlen was originally a draft pick of the Ottawa Senators when they selected him with the 42nd overall pick in 2016, but he was stolen by Jim Benning in a one-for-one swap with Alex Burrows. Dahlen is currently skating in his third Allsvenskan campaign for Timra and has improved year over year. In his first season in 2015-16, the Swede finished the year with 15 goals and 14 assists, leading his team in both goals and points with 29 and placed second in the league in scoring among junior aged players. All he did to follow up this impressive rookie season in year number two was increase his point production by 50% scoring 25 times and adding 19 helpers to finished tied for fourth in league scoring. These 25 goals were third best in the league, as was his 0.98 point per game average. It would have been encouraging to see him match his 2016-17 in 2017-18 but the fact is he’s been even better posting a stat line of 21 goals, second in the league, and 18 assists in 38 games for a league-best points per game of 1.03. To some extent I get where Pierre Dorion was coming from when he made the Dahlen for Alex Burrow deal. But given how Dahlen has looked and the fact that Burrows is being paid $2.5 milllion and has scored nine times in 86 games in a Senators jersey, this trade it looking more lopsided by the day.



Thanks for stopping by. You can find me on Twitter @BradHPhillips. If you missed it, here is last week’s edition focussing on a few sleepers. Enjoy the weekend!