Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Max Johnson, Nipawin Hawks

A year ago, Max Johnson had three goals in 50 games split between the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Calgary Canucks and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Humboldt Broncos.

This year, through 17 games, the 19-year-old defenceman from Grand Forks, ND, has four goals to go along with seven helpers with the Nipawin Hawks. In fact, the 6-foot-1, 188-pound Johnson had matched his goal output from last year in just eight games this season, which coincided with the Hawks jumping out of the gate with a 6-2-0-0 record.

Prior to making the move north of the border last year, Johnson played two seasons with the Grand Forks Red River of the United States High School hockey league in North Dakota. In 53 games over that span, Johnson had 46 points including 12 goals. Johnson also played with Team Great Plains of the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League where he had seven points in 17 contests.

Nipawin is a perennial leader in defensive play and this season is no different as their 44 goals against in 18 games is among the stingiest in the league. Johnson is a big part of that result, but throw in the fact he is the top producing blueliner on the Hawks and it looks like Nipawin has found another weapon to add to their arsenal. His steady play at both ends will be relied on as Nipawin looks to win a third straight Sherwood Division banner.