The Kings signed 25-year old defenseman Johan Fransson to a one-year contract. Looks like the Kings may have a diamond in the rough here with Fransson. A former first-round pick of the Dallas Stars; Fransson's rights were acquired when the Kings dealt Mattias Norstrom in 2007.
I'm not going to act like I know who this Fransson kid but I did a bit of research and here's what I found. Read it after the jump.
Fransson is an excellent skater with loads of offensive potential. He is extremely mobile, agile and moves the puck very securely. Fransson has a good release and is, unlike many other young defensemen, not afraid to challenge the opposing players and do the unexpected. He is very creative with the puck and also very good at reading plays. His passing game is above average and Fransson is not afraid to get involved when things get rough. On the downside he could still improve his defensive game and at times he is a bit risky with the puck, trying to accomplish too much.
I'm not sure how old this scouting report is. I wouldn't be surprised if it was from his draft year. He was a highly-touted prospect for both the 2003 and 2004 NHL drafts. Hockeyfuture.com had him ranked as their #1 Swedish prospect available in the 2004 draft.
The team that drafts Fransson will get a potential power play quarterback and a strong skating puck carrier in the mold of Flyers defenseman Kim Johnsson.
I've come across comparisons to Nicklas Lidstrom, Nicklas Kronwall and Kim Jonsson. So it sounds like his skill set ranges from: generational talent to above average NHL-defenseman. If he can skate the puck out of the defensize zone and make a decent first-pass; he'll already be an upgrade over what the Kings had on their 3rd pairing last season.
He is a potential No. 1 defenseman in the NHL. Fransson has the tools to become an excellent power play defenseman for years to come and will be valuable for any team that drafts him. His skating and mobility will allow him to frequently join the rush.
I'm not saying we have the next Niklas Lidstrom on our hands. It sounds as though his development had regressed since the 2004 Draft and had become som what of a disappointment. But his breakout season last year gives us hope; he scored 11 goals and 19 points in 54 games last season for Lulea HF of the Swedish Elite League.
He sounds like he might be one of those post-hype sleeper picks. I can't wait to see this guy during training camp. I think he may have an outside chance at making the Kings this season. It's definitely going to depend on how quickly he can adapt to the North American-style game.
Here's a couple videos I found on youtube.
The Swedish Drew Doughty?