Hall: Swedish intrigue at the Draft

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There was a lot of interesting activity on the Swedish front at the 2012 NHL Draft, to say the least.

While heading into the draft one would have originally thought Hampus Lindholm would be part of the line of thinking of a potential value pick.

The Anaheim Ducks picking Lindholm sixth overall virtually disqualifies the defenseman from contention. While he still is a great prospect, obviously, being picked that high makes the ‘value’ part of it less apparent.

Sebastian Collberg, on the other hand, is fully qualified.

Surprisingly enough, Collberg was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens on Day 2 at 33rd overall. While his lack of production Frölunda is well documented, I thought his stellar World Junior Championship would have the speedy sniper going on the first day.

I think most of the people who have been tracking this kid’s career over the past few years were very surprised by his drop, and he himself had definitely expected to be a first rounder. Getting Collberg with a second rounder was one of the main reasons a lot of the people felt instantly that Marc Bergevin’s first draft as the general manager of the Habs was a great one.

Another Swedish pick to like a lot was the Nashville Predators’ selection of big defenseman Simon Fernholm out of Huddinge. With a six-foot-four frame and decent mobility, Fernholm is an intriguing project and could very well turn out to out-develop the usual path of a seventh rounder.

Predators’ Swedish scout Lucas Bergman is a great evaluator of talent, and he might look very good as soon as next year because of this pick, as Fernholm is leaving the smaller Huddinge franchise to play for the Frölunda organization with a chance to earn some SEL minutes if he does well in the U20 league.

Staying in the 7th round, the 195th overall pick was Christian Djoos, picked by the Washington Capitals. The son of former NHLer Pär Djoos, Christian did not get any SEL exposure but had a solid albeit not spectacular tournament with the Swedish national team at the U18 Worlds.

Not as developed physically as some of his peers as well as being a late birthday might actually work in Djoos’ favour, since him filling out his not terribly small frame with some more muscle will make him a better all-round defenseman. His decision-making and puck movement is already at a very good level.

One player that went undrafted in the draft was Södertälje power forward Emil Lundberg, which was very surprising considering how far ahead in his development he was compared to most other Swedish players in this draft class.

The big, powerful winger got a lot of opportunities late in the season for Södertälje of the SEL-2 and showed that he was an impact player at that level. Being physically developed and having missed the 2011 draft cut-off by just two days, NHL scouts may have felt that him having that advantage on his peers helped him look much better than most of them in his draft year.

I still think that his size, skill and prowess in a variety of situations should have warranted Lundberg being picked in the draft, but a power forward from Sweden might be a tough sell, especially since his puck skills might not be as great as some of the other Swedish forwards available.

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