Draft Eligible Nils Höglander is making pro strides for SHL’s Rögle
December and January are interesting months when it comes to prospects tuning their craft in professional European leagues. With the World Juniors in mid-swing to start off the New Year, many teams lose their talented young players for those exciting few weeks. Upon completion of the tournament, one often finds that team dynamics have changed and there are new roles, new expectations, and at times, a reduced opportunity when the juniors return home.
For the upcoming 2019 NHL Entry Draft, this year’s Swedish crop lacks a major presence in both the SHL and the Allsvenskan. As highlighted in our January report, there is the bigger name defenseman, Philip Broberg (AIK, Allsvenskan) and Victor Soderstrom (Brynäs, SHL) playing fairly key roles for their clubs. Sure, we definitely see other notable draft-eligible players getting a few cups of coffee in the SHL (e.g. Tobias Bjornfot, Simon Holmstrom), however, there is a lack of punch in either league in terms of the upcoming draft. Albin Grewe and Nils Höglander are the only two first-year draft-eligible forwards playing (arguably) significant minutes. In the forward ranks, this is not a strong draft for the Swedes – in some ways, it is the proverbial lull before the storm of the 2020 Draft when the big three of Noel Gunler, Lucas Raymond, and Alexander Holtz hit the scene.
Emil Bemström, C/W, Djurgårdens IF (CBJ, 2017)
Drafted in the 4th round in 2017 by Columbus, Bemström has had a great start to his D+2 season. Always viewed as a bit of a project, Bemström was arguably Sweden’s most effective forward at the World Juniors posting four goals and six points in five games. Bemström’s game comes down to shiftiness, quick feet, and above-average hands combined with a goal-scorers mentality when it comes to bearing down in close to the net. Back with Djurgårdens IF, Bemström has been a key offensive cog, leading not only his team but the entire SHL in goals with 15 in only 28 games. Alongside the league points-leader Jakob Lilja (more to come on him next time!) and former New Jersey Devils forward Jacob Josefson, Bemström’s Djurgårdens club has been setting the pace in the SHL with the most goals for, and least goals against of any team.
Martin Fehérváry, D, HV71 (WSH, 2018)