Nicklas Danielsson began his development with the junior team of Vasteras of Division II before joining Brynas of the Swedish Elite League in 2001. He spent his first season with his new organization playing mainly with both the junior 18 and 20 teams. He made his debut in the Elitsersien in 2002-03, his draft year, playing in 26 games and registering 4 points. At the 2003 NHL draft Danielsson waited until the fifth round to be selected going to the Vancouver Canucks at pick 160.
It is very surprising that Danielsson hasn’t suffered from whiplash this past year as he has been treated like a human yo-yo by his club team. The 2003-04 season saw Danielsson not being able to gain a rhythm, as he was constantly being moved from first line status one game to fourth line another game to being sent down to the junior team. He did score 6 goals in 47 games in limited ice time with the Brynas club. Danielsson also saw his first major international competition when he played for Sweden at the junior championships, and was one of the pleasant surprises on a disappointing team.
2003-04: Danielsson did not have a particularly productive season. Although he dressed in 30 games for Brynas in the SEL, he was more or less benched for the vast majority of those games, and he managed to only register one assist in the elite league. When he was loaned to Almtuna of the second division, Danielsson showed much more of the offensive abilities that is expected of him as he scored seven points in 19 games. Still under expectations for him, but a noticeable upgrade over his limited production in the SEL. Nicklas also had a brief nine-game stint with Brynas’ U-20 squad. He was dominant, as was to be expected, while playing in the youth league, scoring 12 goals and two assists in just nine games.
Danielsson from very early on has been known and labeled as the typical Swedish forward that is very skillful in his offensive game. While he doesn’t game breaking speed, Danielsson does posses very quick feet especially in the attacking zone. Danielsson is very well known for his one on one ability against both defenders and goaltenders and is often selected when a penalty shot is taken. When in the offensive zone Danielsson shows a keen nose for the net and seems to be in the right place at the right time to put the puck in the net or make that pass that sets up the goal.
Like many 19-year-olds Danielsson will have to work hard to put more bulk on his slight frame in order to withstand the trials of the game to game grind of the NHL. He must also prove to Canuck management that he is not a one dimensional player as he needs to improve his defensive zone coverage and checking. While he doesn’t shy away when the game gets physical, he does need to improve that aspect of his game in order to meet minimal NHL standards. His game is also very inconsistent but that can also be attributed to Brynas’s lack of decisiveness of where to play Danielsson.
Although Danielsson is very young his promise as an NHL player looks extremely limited at this point. HF’s Swedish writer Johan Nilsson projects Danielsson to be a very good minor league player, and his career thus far indicates he’s likely to bounce between the SEL and second-tier league.