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Draft Profile: Oliver Wahlstrom and Adam Boqvist

Two players with connections to Sweden - one an American, one a Swede - round out our draft profiles, likely top-ten selections but needing a bit more time to develop.

USHL Fall Classic - Day 3 Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

In our 2018 NHL Draft Preview, we look closely at some of the prospects that could be available to the Hurricanes, who hold the second overall pick in the draft beginning June 22 in Dallas.

CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

Oliver Wahlstrom

  • DOB: 6/13/2000
  • Team: U.S. National Team Development Program
  • Right Wing | Shoots: R | 6’1”, 205 pounds
  • 2017-18 Stats: 62 GP - 48G, 46A, 94 points, 42 PIM

Another USNTDP product, and likely the second that will be drafted in the top ten tomorrow, Wahlstrom is one of the draft’s best pure goal scorers. Coming from a hockey family, the Yarmouth, Maine product is the son of a Swedish father who plied his trade for a few years in the Swedish Elite League. Assuming the team that drafts him does not convince him to turn professional, Wahlstom is committed to Boston College next season where he likely will have at least a couple years in a solid program to continue to fine tune his game, and find out where his future lies on the ice positionally.

At over six feet and more than 200 pounds as a newly turned 18-year-old, Wahlstrom already possesses the physical framework of a future NHL power forward. He uses his size to play a power game, and often over matches his opponents in one-on-one situations, as well as on the forecheck. He’s a solid skater with great balance and the ability to naturally generate power in quick bursts to catch defenders flat-footed. The winger has a knack for driving hard to the net and creating scoring chances, and is willing to remain in the crease for rebounds and deflections. His best weapon is his shot, which he uses quite often from different angles and spots on the ice to keep defenders guessing and to fool goaltenders.

Being drafted in the first round is all about a prospect having an elite skill that is projectable to the NHL level as he develops. For Wahlstrom, that skill is his knack for finding the back of the net. It will be hard for teams in the top ten to pass that by.

Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Adam Boqvist

  • DOB: 8/15/2000
  • Team: Brynäs (Sweden)
  • Defense | Shoots: R | 5’11”, 165 pounds
  • 2017-18 Stats: 15 GP - 0G, 1A, 1 point, 4 PIM

Yet another toolsy, high-upside defender who is likely to be a top 10 selection tomorrow is Boqvist, who fits the mold of the new generation of defensemen. As one of the youngest players in the draft, Boqvist doesn’t turn 18 until mid-August but still was able to crack the Brynas lineup for 15 regular season and three playoff games. He wasn’t a point producer at that level, but his time spent with the U20 club shows his offensive upside, where he averaged over a point-per-game from the back end. Expect him to still split time between the two levels in 2018-19, and to make more of an impact in Sweden’s top league moving forward.

The offensive end is where Boqvist flashes. He is a terrific skater who at times can be a one man breakout with the pace that he is able to generate through the neutral zone. In the offensive zone he is a cerebral player, setting up his teammates for scoring opportunities with his ability to maneuver the offensive zone while in possession. The young Swede often relies on his wrist shot to get pucks through to the net by effortlessly moving his feet to create lanes and space. Defensively he’s not there yet, but much of that is his size at this point. He is good positionally and with his stick, cutting down scoring opportunities by clogging passing lanes, and as he gets stronger his all-around defensive game will improve.

There’s a lot to like here, especially if a team in the top ten is looking for a offensive prospect for the future. Boqvist still needs time to develop and is likely multiple years off from actual contributions, but the raw tools are there for him to be one of the more dynamic defensemen taken in this draft.