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Red Wings Prospect Johansson Shares Gretzky Trait

Johansson fond of baby powder on his stick



Anton Johansson, Red Wings prospect
Red Wings defensive prospect Anton Johansson likes to sprinkle the shaft of his hockey stick with baby powder, just as Wayne Gretzky did.

Detroit Red Wings draftee Anton Johansson is discovering that when you’re a budding NHL prospect who shares an on-ice trait with Wayne Gretzky, it’s going to go viral.

Footage of Sweden defenseman Johansson sprinkling baby powder on the shaft of his hockey stick at the IIHF World Junior Championship is all over social media. And he’s since come to learn that it’s a preparation trait that he shares with the Great One himself.

While rewriting the NHL record book in the 1980s and 1990s, Gretzky always would use baby powder on the shaft of his stick.

“I heard it just now,” Johansson told Swedish website about this trait he has in common with Gretzky. “But it’s fun.”

Not to mention that it’s getting his name spoken in the same sentence as the sport’s greatest scorer.

“Haha, yes, that’s how it has turned out,” Johansson said.

In actuality, Johansson’s reason for applying the baby powder is identical to Gretzky’s rationale.

“I don’t want so much grip up there,” Johansson explained. “It will simply be a little smoother (with the baby powder). I don’t like it when the grip tape gets sticky.”

Red Wings Pick Big Hit For Swedes

Certainly, Axel Sandin Pellikka, the 17th overall choice in the 2023 NHL entry draft, was the Detroit defensive prospect who came into the world juniors with much more hype. Johansson (105th overall, 2022), though, is delivering for Sweden in a different fashion.

Although often seeing limited ice time among the seven Swedish defenseman, Johansson is proving to be a punishing physical presence. He was delvering some big-time hits in Sweden’s wins over Canada and Germany.

“It has been up and down,” Johansson admitted of his ice time at the WJC. “I’m trying to get into the stuff and I’ve been playing well in several games. I want to spread energy to the group.”