NHL Prospect Profile: Simon Holmström

Simon Holmstrom is an incredibly talented ‘Swede and one of the 2019 NHL Draft’s most elusive players.

– Simon Holmström –

HV71 (SuperElit) | Right Wing | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible

Tranås, Sweden | May 24, 2001 | 5-foot-11, 172-pounds

Simon Holmström quietly put up one of the better SuperElit seasons among U17 players in the last decade. His 11 goals and 30 points over 28 games rivalled the production of the likes of Mikael Backlund and Filip Forsberg at the same age. An offence-first winger, Holmström has shown the potential to be a valuable point producer at the professional level.

A passer before a shooter, Holmström’s natural playmaking instincts come as a result of his vision of the ice. He seems to always know where his teammates are and can skate his way into time and space with the puck. Surprisingly, Holmström has yet to represent Sweden at a major international tournament.

Strengths:

  • Playmaking
  • Skating
  • Puck Skills

A highly skilled winger, Holmström is a smart player with the puck. He has the ability to dictate the pace of play when he has puck possession and can create time and space for himself and his teammates through his puck-handling and skating prowess. Holmström easily threads passes through traffic and can bait defenders towards him in order to open up his teammates.

On the other hand, Holmström does have the ability to find the back of the net himself on occasion as well. His release is quick, but his shot is not overpowering, as he usually scores by opening himself up for a cross-ice pass. Holmström’s hands are creative and he can beat defencemen one-on-one with relative ease.

Weaknesses:

  • Defensive Awareness

Holmström is a winger who clearly plays with an offence-first mentality. While he is a potentially dynamic playmaker, his defensive game often looks lacklustre. Although that fact won’t be his Achilles heel as a winger, it remains an area for improvement.

Holmström could also use a little extra strength on the puck in order to be more successful in puck battles and to be more steady on the puck when he has possession. Both of these attributes seem to be assets that are continuing to develop as a 17-year-old, so don’t put too much stock into their distinction as a “weakness”.

Future Potential:

Simon Holmström projects to be a top-six winger at the NHL level. He is a potentially dynamic point-producer and an intelligent playmaker. He is an above-average skater and is extremely versatile on the power play. Heading into the ’18-19 season, Holmström looks like a possible first round pick for the 2019 NHL Draft, likely near the end of the round.

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NHL Prospect Profile: Victor Söderström

Victor Söderström is a mobile, two-way defenceman with high hockey IQ and impressive skating abilities. He makes smart decisions with the puck in his own end and can be dynamic in the offensive end as well. Overall, Söderström projects to be a top-20 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft.

– Victor Söderström –

Brynäs IF (SuperElit) | Right Defence | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible

Skutskär, Sweden | February 26, 2001 | 5-foot-11, 176-pounds

Victor Söderström is a dynamic, mobile, two-way defenceman who can be a game-breaker at either end of the ice. As a 16-year-old in 2017-18, he split time between Sweden’s top two U18 leagues as well as it’s top U20 league, SuperElit. In those total games, Söderström tallied 10 goals and 37 points over 48 games. Unfortunately, he was injured at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup after two games, limiting his ability to show North American scouts his full potential.

Söderström is an extremely smart player who makes excellent decisions with the puck. He also uses these instincts while defending in order to break up offensive rushes. A gifted two-way defender, Söderström has exciting offensive upside through his combination of skating ability and vision of the ice.

Strengths:

  • Hockey Sense
  • Two-Way Play
  • Skating

Victor Söderström has the potential to be a potent, two-way force. His offensive game is fuelled by his hockey sense and skating ability. Söderström reads the ice very well and can make a smart decision as to when to join the rush to create an odd-man rush or to carry the puck through the neutral zone and put his team on the attack.

Söderström has a great first three steps, accelerating to impressive top speeds very quickly. He’s also agile which helps him to buy time and space with the puck in his own zone before successfully breaking the puck out. He is dynamic on the powerplay as well, moving the puck north-south and east-west from the point to open up passing and shooting lanes.

Weaknesses:

  • Strength

On the other hand, Söderström remains a relatively average-sized defenceman. Although he is never afraid to use his body to engage in the physical side of the game, it can be a disadvantage when boxing out opponents in front of his net. As well, he can be overwhelmed against larger opponents in board battles.

If Söderström is able to add some muscle before June 2019, he may be able to boost the confidence of NHL general managers in selecting him. As a 17-year-old, he still has lots of time to grow and mature with time put into the gym. As such, this likely won’t be a worry when projecting Söderström’s NHL potential.

Future Potential:

Victor Söderström has the potential to become a top-pairing defenceman in the NHL, as well as a powerplay specialist. While he would be considered to be a small defender by today’s standards, he fits all the characteristics of the new era of the league; hockey IQ, skating, and skill. Söderström plays a style comparable to Jared Spurgeon of the Minnesota Wild. Heading into the ’18-19 season, Söderström appears to be a lock as a Top-20 pick for the 2019 NHL Draft.

NHL Prospect Profile: Philip Broberg

Philip Broberg is a big, mobile, two-way defenceman who loves to carry the puck with speed through the neutral zone. He is a menace to play against in both ends of the rink and has shown considerable offensive upside.

– Philip Broberg –

AIK J20 (SuperElit) | Left Defence | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible

Örebro, Sweden | June 25, 2001 | 6-foot-3, 198-pounds

Philip Broberg is a menacing two-way defenceman who is next to impossible to play against in all three zones of the ice. He has tremendous size and strength, and yet he skates like the wind, blowing past his opponents in a rush with the puck. Broberg added six goals and 13 points in 23 games as a 16-year-old in the U20 SuperElit league last year.

He raised his draft stock immensely at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, wowing the crowd and scouts alike with impressive play at both ends of the ice, including three goals in five games. Broberg rocketed up the rankings and is now considered one of the top defencemen for the 2019 NHL Draft. The Hamilton Bulldogs own his CHL rights after selecting him 54th overall at the 2018 CHL Import Draft.

Strengths:

  • Skating
  • Offensive Mindset
  • Size and Strength

Philip Broberg is a towering defender, standing at 6-foot-3 already, he imposes his will on opponents all over the ice. He skates exceptionally well for a 17-year-old of his size, showcasing an ability to rush the puck from goal-line to goal-line. He has a tremendous shot and the knowledge of when to utilize a simple wrist shot from the point through traffic to create scoring chances, or when to unleash a booming slap shot.

In the defensive zone, Broberg has a strong lower-body which he imposes onto opponents to separate the puck. He also has a long reach with his stick and can use it for effective poke checks or to eliminate passing lanes. Physically, he will eliminate opponents along the wall with strong checks and rub outs.

Weaknesses:

  • Hockey Sense

In order to truly establish himself as an elite defensive prospect and separate himself from the pack, Broberg will need to improve upon his hockey sense. At this time, his sense is strong offensively, showing an understanding of when to move the puck up ice with a pass and when it is safe to rush the puck himself.

However, defensively, Broberg can be found chasing the puck and leaving himself out of position at times. If he can evolve to play a calm and composed defensive game along with his aggressive offensive style, Broberg should be one of the top defencemen at next year’s draft.

Future Potential:

At this time, Broberg projects to be a top-pairing defencemen at the NHL level. He has showcased an elite ability to chip in offensively along with an effective skating ability. Comparables include John Klingberg and Ivan Provorov. Heading into the 2018-19 season, Broberg forecasts to be a Top-10 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft, and one of the first defencemen chosen.