June 15, 2011 Leave a comment
After seven Swedes were taken in the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, none were selected last year. That will change when defenseman Adam Larsson becomes the first Swede taken in the 2011 draft, and will further be strengthened when defenseman Jonas Brodin is drafted late in the first round.
“Brodin is an outstanding skater whose strength is his east-west lateral movement and ability to crossover in the face of forwards who attack with speed,” wrote Bruins 2011 Draft Watch. “He’s got excellent vision and defensive instincts, able to diagram unfolding plays and put himself in position to interdict and neutralize the opposition attack. Brodin also has the ability to start the transition game to offense with his soft hands and crisp outlet passing. Although only about 165-170 pounds, Brodin has also shown a surprising ability to play a physical game. This is especially significant because he’s competing at the Swedish Elite League (SEL) level this season with Färjestad.”
Last season, Brodin became the youngest player ever to suit up for Färjestad, after making his debut as a 16-year-old. Being a late birthday (July), he was able to spend another season developing, which has helped him exponentially.
“Jonas is progressing after the individual plan we set up for him prior to this season. He takes one step at the time and his thirst for knowledge is admirable. Jonas is a good listener and learner which is a good asset,” said Leif Carlsson, assistant coach responsible for the defensemen with Farjestad in an interview with ESPN.com. “Jonas has put a lot of effort into improving his mobility and his shot. He has exceeded with both and on top of that he has become faster when body checking.”
The 6-foot, 172-pound Karlstad, Sweden native has yet to score a goal in the Swedish Elite League, but has posted four points and a plus-6 rating playing against professionals twice his age. He is extremely undersized weight-wise, but as we have seen with other Europeans, physical maturity comes simply with time. His skating and hockey sense are his best features, while his ability to keep the puck on his stick through traffic makes him an even more desirable player to NHL teams looking for a defenseman that can start a breakout up the ice. And although his size is not yet up to par, there is absolutely no lack of physical or passionate play – or a desire to take on everyone bigger than him, for that matter.
“I did not think I would be impressed by such a young guy,” said coach Charles Berglund to HockeyServige.se. “One thinks, of course, to tell the players just to ‘run over that f**king brat,’ but it is of course not that easy.”
“He’s not a spectacular player, he will not take on three players at one time with the puck,” said head coach Tommy Samuelsson in an interview with HockeyServige.se at the beginning of the 2009-10 season. “But he solves almost any situation and plays smart and simple.”
Alan Bass, a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.