Top 20 Swedes for the 2006 NHL Entry Draft

By HF Staff

#PlayerPosHtWtL/RBornTeam
Nicklas BäckströmF6’0183L1987-11-23Brynäs

Nicklas Bäckström is along with Devils pick Nicklas Bergfors the most talented Swedish forward born 1987. He has had a good start in the SEL and was actually, as the youngest player in the league, awarded MVP of the game in his two first SEL appearances this season. He’s a tremendously skilled and all-round player. Bäckström has incredible hands and hockey sense and is an excellent playmaker. He is very shifty, possesses impressive technical skills and has great balance on his skates. His acceleration could use some improvement though.

Patrik BerglundF6’4187L1988-06-02Västerås
The huge forward Patrik Berglund is putting up good numbers in the junior league and should get the chance to prove himself in the Swedish second tier later this season. He’s a quite powerful player, although in need of a few more pounds on his frame. Berglund has proven to be a good scorer and passer at all levels he has played.
Jhonas EnrothG5’10174L1988-06-25Södertälje

Jhonas Enroth could be the most talented goaltender to come out of Sweden in some years, an agile and solid goalie with quick reflexes and good lateral movement. He has a shot at the backup job in the U20 World Junior Championships this winter.

Niclas AndersénD6’0203L1988-04-28Leksand

Andersén is not very tall, but built like a tank. He’s a very powerful defenseman that was compared to Swedish NHL legend Ulf Samuelsson at an early stage. He has plenty of strength and grit to go with his steady defensive game.

Tony LagerströmF6’1187L1988-07-19Södertälje

Tony Lagerström is a smart two-way center who has been productive in the juniors. He has obvious leadership skills and the potential to become a fine player in the future. With good acceleration, he will, however, not dazzle you with spectacular offensive plays. Lagerström has an edge to his game and is well rounded.

Robin FigrenF5’11176R1988-03-07Frölunda

Robin Figren is along side Nicklas Bäckström the most skilled player offensively eligible for the 2006 draft. He combines good speed with fine technical skills and a nice scoring touch. Figren can create scoring chances out of nothing and is always a dangerous force when in control of the puck. He’s also a very gifted playmaker.

Stefan RidderwallG6’1185L1988-03-05Djurgården

Rolf Ridderwall is a Swedish goalie legend and now his son Stefan Ridderwall is following his footsteps. He’s a skilled goalie that covers the net well and is not too far behind Enroth. Ridderwall should get some senior league starts next season.

Christopher ThörnF6’3190L1986-07-20Djurgården
Thörn is a hardworking player with great size. He has been quite impressive with Djurgården in the SEL this season. He has pretty quick feet, good balance and a decent scoring touch. He’s considered to be better than teammate Christofer Löfberg who is also born 1986 and was the second Swede to be taken in the recent draft (going to Detroit).
Oskar JohanssonF6’0172L1988-05-11Timrå
Johansson is an offensively skilled forward, quite creative in the offensive zone and is a good scorer as well as a playmaker. He’s in need of more muscle, but definitely not a softie.
10 Jonas AhnelövD6’2183L1987-12-11Frölunda
Ahnelöv is a physical defenseman that moved to Frölundas junior academy this summer. He has excellent timing in his hits, is a good skater and passer. He also has a hot temper, at times too hot. He tends to overwork situations in his own end at times.
11 Thomas LarssonF6’0185L1988-01-16Skellefteå
Larsson is an intriguing prospect. He’s not as known and hyped as the others on the list, but definitely one to watch in the future. Larsson likes to agitate and play the body. He is very strong in front of the opposing net and along the boards. Not the most skilled player with the puck, he could have a bright future as a role player. He has the instinct of a winner and is well trained.
12 Viktor StåhlbergF6’3192L1986-01-17Frölunda
Ståhlberg has great size and is a superb skater who accelerates incredibly well. He played in the Swedish third tier league last season and is this season putting up very impressive numbers with Frölunda in the juniors. He has a fine scoring touch to go with his quick feet.
13 Erik MoeD5’11172R1988-03-06Timrå
Moe is undersized, but one of the most skilled defensemen born 1988. He reads the game well, is a good passer, has a quick release and has plenty of offensive potential.
14 Johan AlcénF6’2187L1988-03-11Brynäs
Alcén has not been a regular on the Swedish junior team, but been productive with Brynäs in the juniors. There’s plenty of offensive potential here, but Alcén has been quite inconsistent at times and must shoot the puck more often. He has good hockey sense and technical skills.
15 Alexander RibbenstrandD6’0187L1987-01-09Djurgården
A two-way defenseman who was overlooked this summer, Ribbenstrand has been quite impressive as a regular on Djurgården’s SEL line-up. He has an edge to his game and likes to play the body. He plays a strong passing game and has a fairly good release, but is a bit inconsistent at times.
16 Dennis PerssonD6’1174L1988-06-02Västerås
Västerås has several interesting prospects eligible for the draft one being this defenseman. A gifted defenseman with impressive on-ice-vision and two-way ability.
17 Robin LindqvistF6’1187L1987-08-16Luleå
Overlooked in the past draft, but has been loking good in the SEL with Luleå. Lindqvist is a very smart player with excellent defensive skills and an admirable work ethic. Plays well in both ends and can be used in all game situations. A perfect team player.
18 Jimmy Jensen F5’11194L1988-01-24Djurgården
Jensen is a speedy player who accelerates quickly. He has soft hands and is a good stickhandler. Usually quite strong with the puck, Jensen tends to be too creative at times. Considered to be one of the better wingers on the Swedish U18 team.
19 David LidströmD5’11178L1988-02-16Västerås
Another undersized defenseman, Lidström is quite flashy and has good technical skills. He sees the ice well and could become a good offensive defenseman.
20 Magnus SvanbergD6’2194L1988-03-03MODO
Svanberg has good defensive skills and hockey sense. He makes difficult things look easy and does not make mistakes very often. He’s not the most talented defenseman offensively though.

Other notables:
Kristoffer Berglund, D Björklöven
Jonathan Carlsson, D Brynäs
Erik Andersson, F HV71
Chris Nybeck, F HV71
Petter Ullman, D Leksand

Andreas Thuresson, F Malmö
Marcus Olsson, F Malmö
Mattias Sjögren, F Rögle

Johan Nilsson and Anders Östberg contributed to this report. Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.