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Simon Johansson signs with Minnesota Wild

Ilves Hockey Oy

Ilves defenseman Simon Johansson, 22, has signed a two-year, two-way, entry-level NHL contract with the Minnesota Wild.

The Swedish defenseman Simon Johansson joined Ilves last spring on a one-year contract. The defenseman scored 32 points (8 goals, 24 assists) in 58 regular season games and 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists) in 10 playoff games in his first season in Finland’s Elite League (Liiga). He is the youngest the defenseman in Ilves history to score 32 points in a season.

Johansson ranked tied-eight among Liiga defensemen in scoring in the regular season and tied-third in the playoffs. He recorded second-most points among Ilves defensemen in the regular season and ranked first in the playoffs.

– It has been a really fun season! When I arrived to Tampere my first time I didn’t really know what to expect, but after the first week I felt that this was a great group of guys in the team and that the organization was great and really helped us new players with everything, says Johansson.

– Then as the season went on I felt that we played really good, had a really good team chemistry and amazing support from the fans. It was also really cool to be a part of the team this season as we said goodbye to Hakametsä arena and moved in to the new arena. Even though our main goal was to win the championship, but we fell short, I think that we were really worthy to win the 3rd place game and secure a medal for Ilves.

Before joining Ilves Johansson played for the Djurgårdens IF in Swedish Elite League SHL and for Almtuna IS ja Mora IK in the second-highest league HockeyAllsvenskan. Johansson was drafted 148th overall by the Minnesota Wild in the fifth round of the 2018 NHL Entry draft.

– When I signed with Ilves it was my goal to take the next step in my development and become a better hockey player. I have always believed that I have the skills and talent, but the support and trust I received helped a lot to develop my confidence and game. I think that the Ilves organization is great and they work a lot with developing players to take the next step, says Johansson.

– Signing a NHL contract is a dream come true. Since I was a little kid, I have always dreamed to sign one and it’s an amazing feeling to have done that.

Johansson thanks Ilves supporters for the past season and says the club community will hold a place in his heart.

– Thank you very much for this season fans. You have been amazing the whole season supporting us. It’s been awesome playing in front of you and the atmosphere was always great every game. Ilves will always have a special place in my heart.

On behalf of the club, sports director Timo Koskela thanks Johansson for his work for Ilves.

– Simon Johansson had a great season and took huge steps in his development during it. He was one of the best defensemen in our team and the whole league. He is a great example that when the talent and work ethic meet you can take big steps forward in a short period of time. We are really happy for him and, on behalf of the whole Ilves organisation, I wish Simon good luck in his future endeavors in North America.

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