KEARNEY,Neb. – Afterspending his final year of junior eligibility with the Tri-City Storm,goaltender Jacob Johansson has decided to return to Sweden to pursue aprofessional career, signing a two-year deal with Linköping HC of the SwedishHockey League.
Thenetminder, who originally hails from Stockholm, Sweden, appeared in 42 gamesfor the Storm during the 2013-14 season. Johansson racked up over 2,000 minutesin between the pipes, seventh most in the league.
"Iloved every part of my year in Kearney," Johansson said. "I want to thank theorganization for giving me the opportunity to represent the team and I want tothank the fans for giving us their full support throughout the year even whenwe didn't play our best hockey."
Johanssonalso recorded three shutouts among his 14 total wins, which was fourth best inthe USHL. His 1,174 saves were fifth most among all goaltenders.
Thesix-foot, one-inch goalie is excited about his contract with a team in what isconsidered the top pro league in Sweden. But Johansson expects he'll need toprove himself and will likely start out on a loan with a team in thesecond-best pro league in the country.
Aftera bout with mono kept the goaltender on the bench for the final weeks of theseason, Johansson said he is healthy now and will begin offseason workouts inthe coming weeks.
TheLinköping organization is nothing new for Johansson, as he played for theirjunior team before coming to the USHL.
"Iactually spoke with Linköping throughout most of the year since I played therelast season," Johansson said. "We actually have two players from the U.S. andthere are a lot of players from other countries so I don't think the differenceis going to be too big."
Johanssonsaid that the year spent in the USHL will help him because of how many games heplayed.
"Igot used to playing a lot of games," Johansson said. "The media coverage wasgreat and I loved interacting with our loyal fans."
Hisfinal USHL statistics included an overall record of 14-22-3, with a goalsagainst average of 3.07 and a save percentage of .910.
"Iwant to thank my billet family (John and Robyn Schulthiess) for being amazingand providing me with everything I needed while in the U.S.," Johansson said.
Withthe 2013-14 season in the books, Tri-City is now preparing for the two annualUSHL Entry Drafts, which will take place May 5-6. The Storm will have the No. 3overall pick in both drafts.
Courtesy Tri-City Storm Media Relations