Next up for SHL champion Albert Johansson? Earn your place with the red wings

The title of the Swedish Hockey League assured, a gold medal around his neck, Albert Johansson was already aiming for another objective: to break through the alignment of the Detroit Red Wings.

“I feel ready and I want to spend this fall and try my luck there,” Johansson told after helping Farjestad to a 3-0 win over Lulea in Game 7 of the SHL Championship Final.

The Red Wings selected Johansson 60th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft. Signed to an entry-level contract with Detroit, he has spent the past two seasons on loan at Farjestad.

This season, the 21-year-old Johansson had career-high 5-20-25 totals in 52 regular-season games. Going 2-6-8 in 19 playoff games, he helped Farjestad win a surprise SHL title.

“That was the idea when I had the chance and the opportunity to stay here,” Johansson said. “I saw all the players who signed. Of course, it looked very interesting. It’s been a long journey, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of things that have happened in the association. Everything from being tipped for gold this summer to no one believing in us. “Färjestad won’t win gold.”

“Somewhere in the last 10 games at the end of the season and then in the playoffs, we stepped up and showed what capacity we have on this team. Now we are here as winners. I’m very proud of the guys in there and what we’ve done this season. What a journey.”

Johansson ready to challenge for a spot on the Red Wings

Reaching his goal of a Swedish title, like all great athletes, Johansson, the son of former NHL defenseman Roger Johansson, is looking to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“Of course, this is the second season I’ve been out on loan now, so we’ll have a chat when all the celebrations are over,” Red Wings’ Johansson said. “I feel ready and I want to spend this fall and try my luck there. I think they also think they have the time now to choose me and give me a chance there and hopefully , to be there for a few years.

Johansson is part of a rich generation of European defensive prospects in the Red Wings’ pipeline. There are also fellow Swedes Simon Edvinsson and William Wallinder, as well as Finn Eemil Viro.

“This is the NHL you want to play in,” Johansson said. “You want to fight for these places, but I can’t stay here and say now what it will be. I guess I go beyond that and then it’s training camp, rookie tournament and whatever is called there. Then you have to take it from there.

If that means a stint with AHL Grand Rapids similar to that spent this season by Swedish forward Jonatan Berggren, then Johansson is down. He is ready to do whatever it takes to qualify for the best league in the world.

“Clearly my goal is to get into the NHL one day, but if you end up in the AHL, I don’t think I’ll come back because of that,” Johansson said. “I want to give it an honest chance and be there, learn about the culture and life there. Grow as a person and as a hockey player. Then you will see how it ends.

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