NHL Prospect Profile: Alexander Holtz

Alexander Holtz of the SHL’s Djurgårdens IF is a deadly goal-scoring machine eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. A versatile threat and incredibly passionate prospect, Holtz could be chosen within the top-five overall come the NHL Draft in June.

– Alexander Holtz –

Djurgårdens IF (SHL) | LW/RW | 2020 NHL Draft Eligible

Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden | 6-foot, 185lbs | Jan. 23rd, 2002

The upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft will be well-represented by Sweden, as Alexander Holtz and Lucas Raymond stand as two of the top prospects eligible for selection by patiently waiting NHL organizations. While Raymond is widely regarded as a pass-first style of player, Holtz has come to be defined by his ability to blast the puck into the back of the net and has proven his ability to do such with remarkable consistency in league play as well as on the international stage.

In fact, during the 2018-19 season alone, Holtz recorded a whopping 11 goals and 23 points in 18 games of international competition for Sweden. Further, he added 30 goals and 47 points with Djurgårdens IF J20 at the SuperElit level in just 38 games played — a rate of offensive production which led directly to Holtz’s promotion to the SHL to kick-start his 2019-20 season.

Strengths:

  • Skating Speed
  • Shot Release and Velocity
  • Puck Handling Abilities
  • On-Ice Vision and Playmaking Sense

When it comes to Holtz’s strengths, there are many. First and foremost there is Holtz’s skating speed — an ability which stands as the foundation of his game. Capable of eluding his defenders with relative ease, Holtz features the straight-line speed necessary to force his opposition onto their heels and can create a great deal of time and space for himself in the process. What’s more is that Holtz isn’t afraid to drive hard to the net — he can combine his speed and growing agility to change directions and discombobulate his defenders.

Having flown into the attacking zone, it is quite common to see Holtz unleash his sizzling shot — an ability which makes him one of the top goal-scorers eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. Defined by its Auston Matthews-like release, Holtz’s shot has the accuracy and velocity necessary to beat opposing goaltenders cleanly with impressive consistency. In addition to his lethal wrist-shot, Holtz also boasts an impressive slapper and the unique ability to score goals on one-timers taken from a distance.

However, Holtz is more than just a goal-scorer, as the youngster features incredible puck-handling abilities and the on-ice vision necessary to create and implement high-quality scoring chances in combination with his teammates. What’s more is that Holtz features a tremendous feel for the game — an innate ability which allows him to sense the positioning of his teammates or slide into open ice in order to receive the puck and fire it on-goal. It is these abilities which allow Holtz to stand as a dynamic and versatile two-threat capable of producing offence in a wide variety of forms.

Weaknesses:

  • Skating Agility and Acceleration

Given Holtz’s projection as a likely top-five talent in the 2020 NHL Draft, it should come as no surprise to learn that there are a slim few areas in need of improvement with respect his game.

The most notable of which, however, is surely Holtz’s skating acceleration as well as his agility while moving at top speed. Although he features high-end speed and the ability to create separation between himself and his opposition, Holtz boasts average acceleration and can therefore be caught by defenders if he receives the puck from a standstill. Moreover, once he has reached top speed, Holtz’s agility is fairly average — while he can change direction while maintaining his speed fairly well, Holtz is slightly predictable in doing so and can be thwarted somewhat easily at times.

Now, this not to say that Holtz is a poor skater by any means, but rather that room for improvement does exist within this particular facet of his game — especially so if he wishes to enjoy a seamless transition to the NHL-level in the near future.

Future Potential:

At the end of the day, Holtz is a high-end talent eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft and arguably its most lethal goal-scorer. Capable of traversing the ice with relative ease and decisive in his ability to do so, Holtz places overwhelming pressure on opposing defenders and stands as an unpredictable threat owing to his ability to shoot and pass the puck with absolute authority.

While room for improvement does exist within his game, Holtz should be able to eliminate any deficiencies with ease as he continues to strengthen his already intimidating frame. In short, Holtz is an excellent offensive player who should develop into a persistent threat at the NHL-level in little to no time whatsoever. Once his skating matches his puck-handling skills and shot, he should grow into a top-six forward with little issue.

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NHL Prospect Profile: Albin Grewe

The NHL franchise which selects Albin Grewe will have stolen a sensational prospect in the 2019 NHL Draft. Sturdy on his skates and of immense skill, Grewe plays a competitive game and is as dynamic as they come — a reality easily overlooked given his development within Sweden’s SuperElit league.

– Albin Grewe –

Djurgardens IF | Right-Wing | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible

Marsta, Sweden | March 22, 2001 | 6-feet, 190-pounds

The 2019 NHL Draft is flush with highly talented European prospects, and one of the most promising of which is right-winger Albin Grewe. 

Boasting size, skill, and grit, Grewe plays a competitive two-way game and has already skated in Swedish Hockey League games at the age of just 17-years. With a physical edge over the majority of his competition and high-end skill to boot, Grewe is devastating on the power play and can produce relatively consistently at even-strength as well. 

Although projected by many to be made a late first to early second-round choice in the coming NHL Draft, Grewe is a prospect who could very easily rise into the top-31 if able to enjoy a stellar season of play in 2018-19. 

Strengths:

  • Competitiveness 
  • On-Ice Vision
  • Shot Release
  • Creativity

As mentioned above, Grewe is one of the 2019 NHL Draft class’s most competitive players.

Not one to take a shift off and determined in his pursuit of the puck, Grewe is driven to generate offensive opportunities for his team each and every time he takes to the ice. A hard-nosed player below the goal line and not afraid to drive hard to the net, Grewe is willing to tackle the dirty areas of the ice in order to produce and isn’t intimidated by his competition regardless of their physicality or skill. 

Related: 2019 NHL Draft Rankings

Being founded upon this extremely competitive nature affords Grewe with a great deal of confidence and creativity while in possession of the puck. While he will carry the puck to the net and stands as a versatile and playmaking force, Grewe will also attempt to complete high-risk, high-danger passes to his teammates which often result in excellent chances if not scoring plays. 

Adding to Grewe’s already impressive skill-set is his lethal shot — heavy and accurate, Grewe loves to shoot the puck and can fire it on net in a variety of ways. Whether it be a quick one-timer from the slot or a well-placed wrister from the half-wall, Grewe can pound the puck on goal and features a lightning-quick release which affords opposing goaltenders with little margin for error.

Related: 2019 NHL Prospect Profiles 

Absolutely dynamic on the power play and a persistent threat at even-strength, Grewe is a lethal scoring winger who brings a great deal to the table other than his volatility. Although his game could use some polish, Grewe’s skill set as well as his potential as an NHL prospect are undeniable. 

Areas of Improvement:

  • Mobility
  • Puck Control

Despite his impressive and continually improving game, Grewe would do well to improve two particular aspects of his game. 

Firstly, there is Grewe’s mobility. While he is a competent skater, Grewe would prove to be a far more unpredictable player if able to improve his mobility as well as agility on the ice. If able to traverse the ice with greater ease and purpose, Grewe would keep his opponents guessing and his defenders on their heels given his suddenly evasive and shifty nature. Now, this isn’t to say that Grewe is a poor skater by any means, but rather that room for improvement in does exist. 

Secondly, there is Grewe’s puck control — a facet of his game which is strong yet could use additional polish this season. Although an exceptional playmaker and two-way threat, improving his puck control would afford Grewe with even greater poise, confidence, and creativity while in possession of the puck.

Ultimately, Grewe’s game is incredibly strong and sound — there’s a reason why he could be made a first round selection come the 2019 NHL Draft. 

Future Potential:

In the years ahead, expect Grewe to grow and develop into a top-six player at the NHL-level. 

Although he could be chosen much later than anticipated in the 2019 NHL Draft, the franchise which selects Grewe will have secured if not stolen a dynamic offensive player capable of competing with both consistency and determination. Wildly creative and remarkably consistent, Grewe is a solid prospect who has long been overlooked as an NHL prospect — and wrongfully so. 

In short, don’t be surprised if Grewe sky-rockets up the selection board come draft day. 

NHL Prospect Profile: Tobias Björnfot

Tobias Björnfot — a Swedish defenceman currently skating for Djurgarens IF of the SHL — could very well be one of the most overlooked and under-appreciated defenders available for the 2019 NHL Draft.

– Tobias Björnfot –

Djurgårdens IF (SHL) | Defence | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible

Upplands Väsby, Sweden | April 6th, 2001 | 6-foot, 190-pounds

The 2019 NHL Draft is loaded with elite young talent.

However, this year’s class lacks an abundance of promising young defencemen. In fact, as few as two defenders could be chosen within the top-10 overall come June of 2019.

Related: 2019 NHL Draft Rankings

Fortunately, defenceman Tobias Björnfot’s impressive and growing game could allow for the presence of an additional defender within the top-10 overall. Although scouts and analysts alike are torn with respect to Björnfot’s game and its potential, the native of Upplands Väsaby, Sweden has wasted little time establishing himself as an elite NHL prospect in 2018-19.

What exactly makes Björnfot’s game so tantalizing and impactful, you ask?

Strengths:

  • Skating
  • Shot
  • Hockey Sense
  • Composure

Like many dynamic defencemen these days, Björnfot’s game is founded upon his elite skating abilities.

Capable of darting throughout the ice at a high rate of speed, Björnfot can lead the rush up or ice wheel back into the defensive zone with relative ease. Light-footed and known for his fluid stride, Björnfot is incredibly agile — a facet of his game which allows Björnfot to smother attacking forwards before transitioning the puck up ice.

In the offensive zone is where Björnfot has the greatest ability to impact the outcome of any given game.

Capable of manning the blue line with both poise and confidence, Björnfot distributes the puck to his teammates extremely well and generates substantial point totals as a result. What’s more is that Björnfot boasts a stellar shot defined by its quick release — he can beat surprised goaltenders clean if they pay too much respect to his playmaking abilities.

As a player who can feel the pace of play and dictate the momentum within it, Björnfot is developing into a reliable two-way defender. With SHL experience under his belt at the age of 17-years, Björnfot’s maturity will certainly bode well for his value come the 2019 NHL Draft.

Weaknesses:

  • Strength
  • Defensive Positioning

Given his young age, it should come as little surprise to learn that Björnfot will need to improve his personal strength in the coming years, and especially so if he wishes to ascend to the NHL-level fairly quickly.

Although he stands 6-feet and 190-pounds, Björnfot can be pushed off of the puck somewhat easily and can — depending on the situation — struggle to defend opposition of significant size. Until able to brace himself adequately using his lower body strength, the possibility to best Björnfot through the use of physicality will continue to exist.

Related: 2019 NHL Prospect Profiles

One other area of Björnfot’s game which must also improve is the youngster’s positioning in the defensive zone. At times, Björfot can lose track of his respective attacker and is forced to battle to re-gain coverage.

Ultimately, although his defensive play is strong, room for improvement absolutely exists.

Future Potential:

Having assessed Björnfot’s strengths as well as his weaknesses, it is abundantly clear that the budding Swedish star could very well develop into a top-four defender at the NHL-level.

Although his game isn’t perfect, Björnfot’s ability to impact the game at both ends of the ice is both consistent and dramatic. If able to iron out the few kinks currently present within his game, Björnfot could progress into a minute-eating defender capable of being utilized in all situations.

While he was slightly overlooked early on in the 2018-19 season due to his ongoing development in Sweden, expect an eager NHL franchise to nab Björnfot early in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft.