In our 2017 NHL Draft Preview, we look closely at some of the prospects that could be available when the Hurricanes draft at 12th overall on June 23 in Chicago.
- DOB: October 13, 1998 - Smogen, Sweden
- Team: HV71 (Sweden)
- Center | Shoots: L | 5’11”, 200 pounds
- 2016-17 Stats: 42 GP - 9G, 10A, 19 Points, 18 PIM
Andersson, who has played in the SHL for the last year and a half, has one of the higher floors among projected first round forwards in his draft class. At first glance his numbers aren’t going to jump off the page at you, but when you take into account an 18-year-old playing in one of Europe’s best leagues in limited minutes, his output is very solid. He was an important piece to HV71’s run to the SHL Championship this past season.
At 5’11” and 200 pounds, the young forward has the ability to play both center and wing if necessary. He may not be the tallest prospect, but he is well built, and has already been acclimated to playing with adults in Sweden where he has found offensive success. His play at the international level has been impressive, as he has put up good numbers at the U18 and U20 levels.
The Swedish pivot is actually one of the oldest players in this draft, with a mid-October birth date, and his play matches his advanced age. Andersson possesses a mature, two-way game and is a extremely low risk selection when it comes to being an eventual NHL player.
When watching Andersson play, he does everything at an above-average level. He is smart in all three zones, has good skating ability, and has showcased a good, accurate shot. He is noticeable in his ability to win one-on-one puck battles, has a high motor when it comes to both forechecking and puck retrieval, and is committed to the defensive side of the puck.
Andersson regularly makes the right play, showcasing a high aptitude for the game by rarely taking unnecessary risks. He is advanced in his ability to carry the puck, and is a good possession player. There are some questions about his overall offensive upside, but there isn’t much doubt that he will be a productive two-way player on an NHL roster for some time.
Taking Andersson at 12 may be a little high, but there is value in the pick. Although the reward may not be as high as some other prospects from an offensive level, Andersson provides less risk than some of the other forwards in his tier. He seems to be a perfect fit on a playoff contender, slotting in on the second or third line.
He can certainly be a valuable piece to an organization, but if you are willing to take a risk on a higher offensive upside player, there may be better players available at 12th overall. Whoever ends up with Andersson will be quite happy, because he is the type of safe, effective player who a coach can put out in any situation and know what they are going to get.