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Prospect Profile: Johnston Is One of a Kind

April 17, 2021 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Edmonton Oil Kings News Release

Edmonton, AB - One of a kind, that's what Edmonton Oil Kings prospect Eric Johnston is.

Johnston, 17, a Regina, Saskatchewan product, was the only member from his Regina Blues Bantam AA team selected in the 2019 WHL Draft when the Oil Kings selected the left-shot defenceman in the sixth-round, 126 th overall.

The 6-foot, 179-pound rearguard put up outstanding offensive numbers with the Blues recording 54 points (14G, 40A) in just 31 games during the 2018-19 season.

"Eric was an offensive key for his team, a team captain, plays a physical game and is dangerous in open ice," said Oil Kings Director of Scouting Jamie Porter. "We saw a lot of similarities between him and Logan Dowhaniuk."

Johnston would tack on nine more points (5G, 4A) in 11 playoff games that year, helping the team reach the SAAHL U15 league finals where they would come up just short against the Martensville Marauders.

"Certainly, the Saskatchewan bantam league is a pretty tough league," added Porter. "When you see a guy that can help his team move along like that it's a good piece to the puzzle for us. It gave our area scouts some more time watching him in an environment that was more pressure filled."

For the 2019-20 season, he would make the jump to the U18 AAA ranks joining the Regina Pat Canadians appearing in 42 games and collecting 17 points (3G, 14A) at just 15-years-old.

"We're really comfortable with the Pat Canadians program," said Porter. "We trust what goes on there, we know the staff and we've had some success with some guys there before.

"Eric had the opportunity to play with Blake Heward last year, Blake is obviously here right now, and we think Eric is on a similar trajectory. We thought he had a solid season there and did what he needed to do as a younger guy and we think it's given him a base to play at the next level."

Not only did Johnston find individual success that season, he also saw plenty of team success. First, he helped Team Saskatchewan capture their first ever gold medal at the WHL Cup in the fall, playing alongside fellow Oil Kings prospect Kylynn Olafson. Johnston scored the final goal in the championship game to seal a 4-2 win for Team Saskatchewan over Team Manitoba.

Later that same season, he and the Pat Canadians would win the Okanagan Major Midget AAA Classic in January.

Johnston was able to suit up in seven games this season with the Pat Canadians before their season was cut short due to the pandemic. Despite the limited schedule he was able to match his goal total from the year previous scoring three times and adding an assist.

"We know Eric is working out and looking after himself," said Porter. "He's a pretty driven individual on his own so we're not concerned about him letting anything lax."

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