Future Considerations’ Swedish-based scout Jonathan Luomala gives his thoughts on who from the 2016 NHL Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.
There’s definitively reason to be optimistic with Sweden’s contribution to the 2016 NHL Draft.
Jonathan Dahlen of Timra IK in the Swedish Allsvenskan league helps that.
Dahlen, the son of former NHLer Ulf Dahlen, has a great mobility that makes him hard to target on the ice and is something he is often using while controlling the puck. He has quick hands and got the confidence to deke out opponents rather easily, either in the corners or while transporting the puck. He likes to position himself around the net in the offensive zone and often screens the goalie when not controlling the puck. Dahlen’s shooting abilities are terrific. He has a great backhander that he likes to use on breakaways. He has a great accuracy and he is often able to aim for the upper corners from situations close to the goaltender.
Although his shooting abilities are great, Dahlen is a player that enjoys the garbage goals. He has no problem with pushing the puck into the net instead of scoring a nice goal. Except for his scoring abilities, Dahlen proved to have a rather good vision as well. He likes to control the puck and he is often looking for teammates able to set up a scoring chance. Something with Dahlen that impressed me a lot is that although he is painted as a goal scorer, he is a team player that enjoys the defensive game almost as much as the offensive one.
Though Dahlen impressed, Kristians Rubins of VIK Vasteras HK left me disappointed this season.
The two-way defenseman had big expectations on him this season after a huge 2014-15 season when he had the chance to play in the Swedish Allsvenskan league as a 16-year-old.
He looked like a first round pick, but was unfortunate enough to miss the first half of this season due to a shoulder injury. When he returned to the ice, he had seemed to lose some of his skills. He had got a more physical game style and preferred his offensive game. Rubins still played great in the defensive zone, but he looked more interested playing in the offensive zone where he had the ability to use his good vision and passing abilities, but he often made the mistake to go too deep in the zone to instead leave an open spot for a counterattack for the opposing team.
He still has the potential of becoming a future NHL defenseman, although his mistakes made him go from a top prospect to a late round pick. I am sure that he can make it into the NHL if he keeps on practicing his offensive positioning. He had the chance to play for Team Latvia at the World Championship this season, but was removed from the roster the last pre-game, thus did not have the chance to strengthen his draft odds by representing his native country.
One player I feel went unnoticed this season is Fredrik Karlstrom, a center of AIK in the J20 SuperElit league.
Karlstrom is a two-way centre that enjoys his defensive game as well as his offensive. He is a tough player to encounter on the ice and plays physical every shift. He plays a very simple game and uses his vision to set up his teammates. Karlstrom likes to crash the net with the puck, either by skating with the puck himself or by finding his teammates in the slot. When not having the puck himself, Karlstrom often screens the goaltender to help his team find the net. He has a good vision that he uses to find his teammates, but he also has a lot of success intercepting the puck in the mid zone. He plays physical and has a good height, but he could improve further by gaining weight. Karlstrom has a good defensive awareness and often helps his teammates with missed assignments as well as helping his teammates in the gritty areas to recover the puck and set up an attack.
I believe that he will end up being a steal for the team picking him in the later rounds.
By Jonathan Luomala