In a draft year that is, to put it mildly, not exactly filled with sure things when it comes to this year’s crop of first round prospects, the Vancouver Canucks are going to have to be a little bit lucky that they can someday have a quality NHL player from their choice.
With this being the new regime’s first choice, there are some intriguing names out there as this team continues to build a new identity. In a division that has teams that use speed and skill effectively, the Canucks need to keep pace, and Liam Ohgren could fit nicely into that mindset. Let’s take a look at what he could bring to the Canucks.
Liam Öhgren- Djurgårdens IF
Weight: 201 lbs
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 8th (European Skaters)
In scouting reports, one of the first positives we see for Ohgren is his skating ability. He has good mobility and is able to battle through hard checking. As he matures, his strength witll catch up to an already decent frame. Add another 10 or 15 pounds and you’ve got a good starting point.
While his defensive play is strong, his work along the boards has been identified as something he will need to improve, but this is definitely something that increased strength will help him with.
Ohgren’s other strengths lie in his offensive creativity and passing ability, as we can see in some of these examples from this season:
He has a very adept with body position at both ends of the ice, and with his skating is able to get back to help defensively, neutralizing rushes by being in the right place at the right time.
This isn’t going to be a superstar player, as we said, this draft isn’t going to offer many if any, but with some time to develop, there’s a skill set here that could fit in nicely in a top 9 role with the Canucks. With a fairly empty prospect cupboard (Thanks, Jim), these are the kinds of players they’ll need to stock up on in the hopes of finding some gems down the road.
He had an impressive season with the Djurgardens Juniors, putting up 33-25-58 in just 30 games, earning a well-deserved call up to the senior squad. While his one goal and one assist in 25 games in the SHL might worry you, it’s a league where rookies dominating is rare, so keep that in mind.
Another thing to consider here, is this pick is one where we didn’t have the Canucks trading away a player like J. T. Miller for a spot higher up, which given what’s been coming out of Vancouver over the past few days is something that we should be prepared for.