The Swedish bridge to the NHL apparently extends from Skelleftea.
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced they’ve signed 2012 third-round pick forward Oskar Sundqvist to his three-year entry-level contract. The Pens had until 5 p.m. ET on Sunday to sign Sundqvist or they would’ve relinquished his rights.
Sundqvist, 20, has played for Skelleftea in the Swedish Hockey League the past two seasons. In 65 games over that time, he had seven goals and 10 assists. The Predators and Sharks have each signed players this week who were teammates with Sundqvist in Sweden.
At 6-foot-3 and 196 pounds he has NHL size, but how he adjusts to the smaller rink in North America and the style of game here will be his next challenges.
As has become an annual tradition, the best defenseman coming out of Sweden must be compared at some level to Nicklas Lidstrom. Perhaps the most telling compliment to Adam Larsson’s versatility is that International Scouting Services has him listed as one of their best offensive defenseman and one of the best shutdown defenseman. People can talk about his powerful skating or his skating, but it’s his poise that separates him from any other blueliner in the 2011 class. He has the uncanny knack for slowing the game down—something that hard to do at any age, let alone as an 18-year-old in the Swedish Elite League.
His poise certainly makes it easy to draw similarities to Lidstrom; but a better comparison would be another Swede: Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman. Whoever drafts him in the first hour of the draft will have a prospect who will be the cornerstone of their defensive corps for the next ten years.
Weight: 200 lbs
Team: Skelleftea HC (SEL)
- 2009-10: 4 goals and 13 assists (17 points) in 49 games
- 2010-11: 1 goal and 8 assists (9 points) in 37 games
|NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING
||#1 SKATER (EUROPE)
|INTERNATIONAL SCOUTING SERVICES
|THE HOCKEY NEWS
From NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards
“Adam is one of the best skater’s in this year’s draft — he has excellent speed and mobility. He also has patient puck handling abilities and can surprise an opponent with a solid hit. His size and skating ability make him comparable with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.”
From International Scouting Services:
“A very good skater, Larsson is poised in every situation on the ice and calculates his decisions with precision and quickness. His panic threshold is off the charts and his demeanour rarely changes. He can chip in offensively by leading the rush, springing teammates with stretch passes or finding a hole from the point with his good shot.”