Welcome back to my top ten international drafted prospects series.
Last time, we went to the largest country in the world, Russia, and checked out who they have to offer in terms of future prospects. The list was headlined by Kirill Kaprizov (MIN), Denis Guryanov (DAL) and Vitali Kravtsov (NYR). Today, we’re going to making a quick stop in Scandanavia and checking out the country of Sweden. Without further ado, here are the top ten Swedish drafted prospects.
10. Lucas Elvenes (LW, Vegas Golden Knights – 5th Round, 127th Overall in 2017)
The Vegas Golden Knights absolutely dominated their inaugaral draft in 2017, selecting the likes of Cody Glass, Erik Brannstrom, and Nick Suzuki in the first round. Despite having since traded two of those players, they also seemed to find some gems in the later rounds and Elvenes was one of them. The 6’1 left winger is currently in his second full season with Rogle BK of the SHL and has 20 points in 42 games thus far. He also represented his country at the World Juniors and impressed with four points in five games.
9. Timothy Liljegren (D, Toronto Maple Leafs – 1st Round, 17th Overall in 2017)
Liljegren was once projected to go second overall in the 2017 draft behind Nolan Patrick, but he developed a case of mono which caused him to miss a big chunk of the season and thus, hurt his draft stock. He ended up slipping to the Maple Leafs at 17th overall where they pounced on him. He’s had a bit of a down year this season involving injuries, but he’s still doing alright with 12 points in 34 games. If he improves his game next season, we could see him in the NHL within the next two years.
8. Jonathan Davidsson (RW, Ottawa Senators – 6th Round, 170th Overall in 2017 to CBJ)
The Blue Jackets drafted Davidsson as an overager in the 2017 NHL Draft, but he never had a chance to play within their organization as the Jackets traded him to Ottawa in a deal that brought Matt Duchene the other way. Davidsson is currently in Sweden playing for Djurgardens IF of the SHL and has found success, putting up 21 points in 37 games thus far. He’s improved every year he’s been overseas, so it’s possible the Sens could bring him to North America for next season.
7. Carl Grundstrom (LW, Los Angeles Kings – 2nd Round, 57th Overall in 2016 to TOR)
The Maple Leafs initially drafted Grundstrom in 2016 and he was a staple on the Toronto Marlies for two seasons before they traded him to the Kings in a trade that brought defenseman Jake Muzzin back to Toronto. The gritty power foward has put up a combined 39 points in 55 AHL games between the Marlies and the Ontario Reign this year, and was recently called up to the Kings where he’s scored two goals in five games at the NHL level.
6. Isac Lundestrom (C, Anaheim Ducks – 1st Round, 23rd Overall in 2018)
Lundestrom began this season playing within the Anaheim Ducks organization and didn’t do too bad, putting up six points in 12 AHL games. He also appeared in 15 NHL games with the Ducks but only mustered two assists in that timespan. In early January he was loaned back to his home country of Sweden and has since put up nine points in 17 games for Lulea HF. There is a strong chance we will see Lundestrom in North America full time next year.
5. Filip Hallander (C, Pittsburgh Penguins – 2nd Round, 58th Overall in 2018)
Hallander is a good example of the fact that you don’t need to have a first round pick to get your hands on a good prospect. Taken at 58th overall, the 6’1 centre is in his first full SHL season with Timra IK and has 21 points in 45 games thus far. Very impressive when you take into account that he’s 18 playing against grown men. If he keeps up his production, you would have to wonder how long the Penguins will wait before pulling the trigger on bringing him to North America.
4. Lias Andersson (C, New York Rangers – 1st Round, 7th Overall in 2017)
Andersson has been progressing smoothly and emerging into a solid skilled forward. He’s split this season between the Rangers and the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL, putting up 20 points through 36 games with the latter. With the former, he’s only been able to muster five points through 32 games, but hasn’t looked out of place. He will likely secure a full time spot on the Rangers next season.
3. Rasmus Sandin (D, Toronto Maple Leafs – 1st Round, 29th Overall in 2018)
Rasmus Sandin has been everything the Maple Leafs have hoped for, if not more. In his first full pro season, he’s put up 23 points in 36 games from the back end on the Toronto Marlies and has easily been their best defenseman. He will more than likely receive an extra look at training camp next year if he doesn’t see any NHL time before the end of the season. It’s obviously too early to tell, but at 29th overall it’s looking like the Leafs got a steal in Sandin.
2. Erik Brannstrom (D, Ottawa Senators – 1st Round, 15th Overall in 2017 to VGK)
Brannstrom has truly emerged as one of the league’s top prospects this season. He proved his dominance in the World Juniors and has been no slouch in the AHL either, having put up 32 points in 48 AHL games thus far. He was traded to the Ottawa Senators mid-season in the deal that sent Mark Stone to Vegas, and his presence instantly bolsters the Senators’ prospect system.
1. Adam Boqvist (D, Chicago Blackhawks – 1st Round, 8th Overall in 2018)
Picking a top prospect in this group was incredibly challenging, but I ended up giving Boqvist the edge compared to Brannstrom just because of the fact that he’s a year younger and was drafted higher. Boqvist is playing for the London Knights this season and he’s been torching the league with 60 points in 54 games, thus far. Considering the fact that he came from Sweden, the Hawks have the option to play him in the AHL before he turns 20, so it’s very likely he could join the organization for next season.
Thanks for reading! Tune in next time where we’ll remain in Scandanavia, where we’ll check out the best that Finland has to offer in terms of prospects.
stats provided by Elite Prospects
featured image photo credit – pixabay.com