2015 NHL Draft Review: Eriksson Ek, Larsson lead talented but reduced group from Sweden

By Chapin Landvogt

Dmytro Timashov - Toronto Maple Leafs - 2015 NHL Draft

Photo: Quebec Remparts forward and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Dmytro Timashov was one of four Sweden products from the CHL leagues to be selected at the 2015 NHL Draft (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

 

 

The remaining Swedish picks were as follows:

Round 4

95. D Jesper LindgrenToronto Maple Leafs: Mid-sized defender compared to Erik Karlsson
109. F Filip AhlOttawa Senators: Huge, skilled forward with attention/focus deficits
119. F Daniel Bernhardt – New York Rangers: Overage winger dominated U20 circuit

Round 5

139. D Christian Jaros – Ottawa Senators: Big overager plays solid, safe defensive game
 
Round 7

183. G Erik Kallgren – Arizona Coyotes: Tall, overage netminder with dominating stats
191. F Gustav OlhaverColorado Avalanche: 6’6” winger with skating issues
202. D Petter HanssonNew York Islanders: Overage all-arounder ready for SHL
211. F John DahlstromChicago Blackhawks: High-scoring junior Frolunda center

The four North American Swedes

For Rasmus Andersson, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Dmytro Timashov, and Gustav Bouramman, the move to North America proved a fruitful one. Particularly Andersson, who was once thought to be a top 10 prospect for this draft, the move proved very interesting and got him taken just seven picks before Kylington, going 53rd overall to the same Calgary Flames team. Forsbacka-Karlsson, who will be attending Boston University this fall, arguably profited the most, going 45th overall to the Boston Bruins, who’ll watch his development closely in their own back yard. This time last year, it wasn’t even certain that he’d be considered for this year’s draft.

Timashov is a smaller Swedish player of Ukrainian descent who still seems to be lacking a second gear, but after collecting 90 points in the QMJHL, the most ever for a Swede in the CHL, there was little doubt a team would roll the dice on him. And that’s exactly what the Toronto Maple Leafs did in taking him 125th overall, adding him to an ever-growing crop of smallish skill forwards.

As for Bouramman, who had a solid, if not spectacular season in the OHL, he had to wait until the 201st pick to hear his name called by the Minnesota Wild, a team that feels it may have made out like a bandit by grabbing the all-around defenseman with a good eye this late in the draft.

Omissions

For the second year running, Skelleftea defenseman Sebastian Aho has gone undrafted despite being widely considered one of the top players of his age group in Sweden. His Finnish counterpart by the same name was taken 35th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes. For Aho, who measures in at roughly 5’9” and 170 pounds, it would seem that his skill set and accomplishments to date simply haven’t outweighed his size issues.

After 34 games taking a fairly regular shift with SHL champion Skelleftea in the 2013-14 season, the smooth-skating, intelligent defenseman who has already become a regular at Sweden’s highest pro level, played 41 regular season and 13 playoff games for the SHL finalist, collecting a total of two goals and 13 points along with a +13 rating. He also had a very strong showing for Sweden at the WJC, chipping in a goal and four points in seven games. It was felt by many that this appearance on the international stage would have been his meal ticket to being taken in the draft. That was not the case.

Another defenseman who surprisingly went undrafted was Lucas Carlsson, a strong-skating defender who likes to assume a blueline role in which he teases with shots or fake passes. The six foot, 187 pounder already has 17 SHL games under his belt in which he collected one assist for Brynas while putting up 19 points and a +7 rating in 44 games for the team’s U20 squad. Though not taken this summer, he’ll be a good possibility for the WJC squad next winter and is another youngster being counted on to deliver some valuable minutes for Brynas in the SHL.

Several overagers continued to go undrafted despite having spent the entire season in the SHL, namely 18-year-old Henrik Tornqvist, who had four points in 59 SHL contests for Linkoping in addition to 21 points in 24 U20 league games, and 20-year-old Adam Brodecki, who had 20 points in 54 games for Brynas. Both hovering around six feet in height, they’ve each etched themselves a regular shift in the SHL at a very young stage. Brodecki also chipped in two points and a +1 in six WJC contests.

Although not completely unsurprising, the omission of Djurgarden junior scoring sensation Jonathan Davidsson, the highly sought HV71 product Alexander Younan (now with Frolunda), and top-scoring U18 league junior Linus Olund, all of whom put on a decent showing at the U18 World Championship, may have come as a bit of a surprise to some in the Swedish ice hockey scene. Along with Sebastian Ohlsson, Jonathan Leman, Christopher Mastomaki, and Lukas Zetterberg, next season will be another big opportunity to strut their stuff on the domestic and international scene as each will be in a situation that will allow them ice time in either the SHL or the Allsvenskan.

Having dropped out of draft contention a little bit was Fredrik Forsberg, Filip Forsberg’s little brother, who despite 36 points in 36 games for Leksand’s U20 program and a seven game debut at the SHL level, just doesn’t seem to have Filip’s drive or upside. Then again, there’s good reason to believe he’ll bloom at some point over the next five years.

Lastly, Czech youngster Lukas Vopelka was considered quite a prospect heading into the season. The 6’0”, 181-pounder put up 15 goals, 40 points, 63 penalty minutes and an impressive +21 in 33 U20 contests, having effectively had the kind of season that gets most kids in Sweden on draft watch. Not ranked very highly among European prospects – 72nd in Europe by CSS – Vopelka does possess a number of good qualities that would have to be considered of higher standard than perhaps a few other players from the Czech Republic who were ultimately drafted. He should get a longer look in the SHL next season and perhaps become a draft topic once again.

Of the 17 players selected out of the Swedish ranks, two were goalies, six were defensemen, and nine were forwards.

Follow Chapin Landvogt on Twitter via @Csomichapin

 

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