By Jared Shafran, Tri-City Storm
After spending his final year of junior eligibility with the Tri-City Storm, goaltender Jacob Johansson has decided to return to Sweden to pursue a professional career, signing a two-year deal with Linköping HC of the Swedish Hockey League.
The netminder, who originally hails from Stockholm, Sweden, appeared in 42 games for the Storm during the 2013-14 season. Johansson racked up over 2,000 minutes in between the pipes, seventh most in the league.
“I loved every part of my year in Kearney,” Johansson said. “I want to thank the organization for giving me the opportunity to represent the team and I want to thank the fans for giving us their full support throughout the year even when we didn’t play our best hockey.”
Johansson also recorded three shutouts among his 14 total wins, which was fourth best in the USHL. His 1,174 saves were fifth most among all goaltenders.
The six-foot, one-inch goalie is excited about his contract with a team in what is considered the top pro league in Sweden. But Johansson expects he’ll need to prove himself and will likely start out on a loan with a team in the second-best pro league in the country.
After a bout with mono kept the goaltender on the bench for the final weeks of the season, Johansson said he is healthy now and will begin offseason workouts in the coming weeks.
The Linköping organization is nothing new for Johansson, as he played for their junior team before coming to the USHL.
“I actually spoke with Linköping throughout most of the year since I played there last season,” Johansson said. “We actually have two players from the U.S. and there are a lot of players from other countries so I don’t think the difference is going to be too big.”
Johansson said that the year spent in the USHL will help him because of how many games he played.
“I got used to playing a lot of games,” Johansson said. “The media coverage was great and I loved interacting with our loyal fans.”
His final USHL statistics included an overall record of 14-22-3, with a goals against average of 3.07 and a save percentage of .910.
“I want to thank my billet family (John and Robyn Schulthiess) for being amazing and providing me with everything I needed while in the U.S.,” Johansson said.
USHL stats - Jacob Johansson
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 12th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2013-14. A record 32 players were chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
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