The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired a third round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in the J.T. Miller trade to the Vancouver Canucks, which was the 71st overall pick. With that selection, they chose Swedish goaltender Hugo Alnefelt.
While I was at first skeptical, due to the fact the Lightning have a young, franchise goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy for the next 5-10 years, I did remember they traded away their only goalie prospect Connor Ingram. Besides, you can never have too many goalies.
The slightly undersized net-minder is 6’2, 173 pounds. He hails from Danderyd, Sweden (a suburb of Stockholm). Last season, he played for HV71’s U20 team in the Swedish SuperElit league. In 24 games, Alnefelt put up a 2.59 Goals Against Average and a .905 Save%. Those stats are very underwhelming, but there are many reasons as to why he was worthy of a third round selection.
I am very excited about Alnefelt’s potential.
In the footage that I’ve seen, Alnefelt was not tested a whole lot, so I couldn’t get a full read if constant pressure leads to him sort of breaking, and giving up leaky goals. However, I did notice a lot of other things. His composure and poise is through the roof.
All of his movements are perfectly timed and flow beautifully with the pace of play like it’s an art. He is technically sound in his movements, and is very powerful with his legs pushing across. Alnefelt never pushes too far, and is really good with his edges to stop himself. He has a lightning quick reaction time which allows him to adjust to deflections in front of him.
Also, he has really solid glove and blocker hands too. He looks like a robot, that is programmed to track the puck, and move with it wherever it goes, to the best ability. Plus, the Swede has the ability to make flashy saves every now and again, but tends to just make a save and not make it hard on himself. Alnefelt is just so smooth and appears to calm and collective in net, and it’s something I haven’t really seen before, or at least, have taken notice of.
Another thing I noticed was how quickly he goes up and down. He is extremely difficult to beat five hole with his ability to quickly go down. Alnefelt recovers quickly to make the second save if needed, but overall has exceptional rebound control, something a lot of young goalies need a lot of work on. Additionally, he’s very well positioned, and has good angles for almost every shot. Even if there’s traffic in front or a scramble for the puck, he always seems to track and find the puck, which is extremely impressive. He likes going around behind his net to play the puck went it is sent in, and while he tends to just settle the puck for a teammate to collect it, he has the capability to pass the puck up ice for a quick breakout.
One thing that Alnefelt needs to be better at is his aggressiveness. He gets too deep in his net at times, and that gives his opponents more net to shoot at. However, that certainly comes with maturity, and he will be able to work out the kinks down the road.
Alnefelt is one of the most impressive goalies I have ever seen, he has great composure and coolness to his game. I believe he is further along in his development than most other goalies in this draft. People don’t give him enough credit because statistics rule the sports world and he doesn’t have great numbers.
I could see him playing in the SHL, which is the top Swedish league next season, and then come across to North America and play in the AHL for the Syracuse Crunch.
One day, I could see him as a future starter, but not a flashy goaltender. He’s reliable though. Just a goalie who goes in, does his job, and that’s it.
At the end of the day, he was great pick-up for Tampa.
All stats eliteprospects
Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals