With their fourth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, the Maple Leafs have selected 6’1, 143-pound left-shot defenseman Victor Johansson of the Swedish Jr. league (Leksand). 

After years of spending their limited draft capital on forwards or goalies, the Leafs have dedicated their first two picks in this draft to the blue line. From 2021 to 2023, the Leafs made 11 draft picks and used just one, last year’s sixth-rounder, on defense. This season they have spent both picks so far — Ben Danford last night and Victor Johansson today — on defense. The prospect pool needed to be replenished on the back end, which is what the Leafs‘ draft team is doing.

Information on Johansson is rather limited at first glance. A late April 2006 birthday, Johansson comes from a hockey family. His father, Thomas, was a defenseman who played for nearly two decades in various Swedish leagues and was pretty good. Though he never came over to North America, Johansson represented Sweden at the IIHF World Championships multiple times, winning bronze in 1999 and 2002 on teams with then-current or future NHLers Markus Naslund, Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Zetterberg, Kristian Huselius, and Michael Nylander. His brother, Simon, was a fifth-round pick in 2018 and is now in the AHL, while his other brother, Anton, was a fourth-rounder for Detroit in 2022 and has been playing in the SHL. He is also listed as a cousin of NHL centerman Alex Wennberg on Elite Prospects.

As for Victor himself, he is listed at 6’1 and a measly 143 lbs., so you would imagine that adding strength and filling out will be a big part of his development process. He’s a left shot and played this past season in the under-20 junior league with Leksands IF, suiting up in 34 games and scoring two goals and six assists for eight points. Johansson also played five playoff games and added an assist, racking up 22 penalty minutes in the process.

Victor Johansson pre-draft rankings:

  •  unranked by public scouting services

Director of Amateur Scouting Wes Clark on Victor Johansson

He’s very early in his development curve. He has strong intelligence, strong competitiveness, and excellent defensive instincts. There is a lot of room to grow there. He has a couple of older brothers, too, who have shown well over the years.

Victor Johansson Statistics

2021-2022Djurgårdens IF U16U16 Div.124591434|
Djurgårdens IF U16U16 SM82358|
2022-2023Leksands IF J18J18 Region2012320|
Leksands IF J18J18 Nationell1410145|Playoffs10000
2023-2024Leksands IF J18J18 Region50114|
Leksands IF J18J18 Nationell30114|Playoffs40110
Leksands IF J20J20 Nationell3426820|Playoffs501122