2008-09: John Persson played for Mora at the U-18 and U-20 levels and competed in the TV-Pucken high school age tournament for Dalarna. The fourth Persson brother to play for Mora, he scored 4 goals with 2 assists and 12 PMs in 12 U-20 games. He played 24 games between the Elitserien and Allsvenskan U-18 teams and had 18 goals with 12 assists and 6 PMs. Persson was selected by the Red Deer Rebels (WHL) in the 1st round (41st overall) of the CHL Import Draft.
2009-10: Persson played 62 games as a WHL rookie with Red Deer. He scored 7 goals with 4 assists and was –14 plus/minus with 12 PMs. Persson played in two of four playoff games as Red Deer, after finishing fourth in the Midwest during the regular season, was swept by Saskatoon in the first round. He had no points and was –2 with 2 PMs. Persson was eligible for the 2010 NHL draft but not selected.
2010-11: Persson had a breakout season in his second year with Red Deer as the Rebels had the second-best record in the WHL and finished first in the Central division. Playing on a line with 2011 number one overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM), Persson’s 33 goals were tops on the Rebels and his +36 plus/minus was second only to defenseman Colin Archer (+40). Eleven of his 33 goals were scored on the power play and he also added 28 assists with 34 PMs. In nine playoff games, he scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was –3 with 4 PMs. Red Deer swept Edmonton before falling to Medicine Hat in a five-game second round series. Persson was not ranked among the 210 North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings but was selected by the Islanders in the 5th round (125th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.
2011-12: Persson made his North American pro hockey debut playing for Islanders’ AHL affiliate Bridgeport after leading the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels in scoring in his third junior season. He scored 4 goals with 4 assists and was plus-five in 12 games for the Sound Tigers. Persson played in two of Bridgeport’s three playoff games and was minus-one with no points. He scored 23 goals with 35 assists in 70 games for the Rebels and was minus-nine with 56 penalty minutes. Red Deer missed the playoffs; finishing fifth in the Central Division. Persson signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Islanders in May, 2012.
2012-13: Persson played 65 games for the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport in his first pro season. He scored 17 goals with 12 assists, missing time in March with an upper body injury, and was +5 with 25 penalty minutes. The Sound Tigers missed the AHL playoffs after finishing third in the Northeast Division. Persson was re-called by the Islanders for the playoff series with Pittsburgh but did not appear in any games.
Persson uses his size and strength to advantage and will go into tight areas to create scoring chances. He put up big scoring numbers in junior hockey playing on a line with Nugent-Hopkins so there is some skepticism about his individual skill set, particularly his mobility, but his competitive nature makes him an intriguing prospect.
Persson is playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL in 2013-14. Long-range, he has the potential to be an effective two-way forward who will occasionally contribute on the scoring sheet by being opportunistic in tight areas.