Prospect Profile: #0 Ludwig Blomstrand

 

Over the past 4 weeks, this platform has played host to the prospect series, where we ranked and profiled what we believed to be the Top 20 prospects in the Canucks system. Throughout the process it became obvious fairly quickly that, while the top-end talent is definitely present, there’s not much depth to the pool. The first handful of players that came up were difficult to take seriously considering that most of them will never enjoy a single relevant NHL moment; with my apologies going out to the families of luminaries like Alex Friesen and Yann Sauve, of course.

While we were making our way through the countdown, the name Ludwig Blomstrand kept surfacing time and time again. The curious part of it all was that Blomstrand’s name never actually appeared on our actual list, but instead kept being bandied about by readers of the blog in both the comments sections and on Twitter. I found it sort of bizarre, personally, since he hadn’t been on my radar at all. In fact, out of our 5 rankers, only 1 – Patrick Johnston, who would probably defend himself were it not for that giant bus currently trampling him – even had Blomstrand in his Top 20. And he had him at number 18.

But at some point, I started to ask myself whether it was possible that this wasn’t all some sort of elaborate inside joke. What if, by some odd chance, this cult following that Ludwig Blomstrand had seemingly accrued was actually justified? What if all of the other rankers and I were totally missing something here?

Read on past the jump for more.

The Canucks took Blomstrand with their 4th rounder (120th overall) back in ’11, before "settling" for Frankie Corrado at 150, and Henrik Tommernes at 210. He finally signed with the team this past March, before promptly joining the Chicago Wolves for the end of the season.

Blomstrand started the year off with Djurgardens (in the Allsevenkan, which is the Swedish second league) miserably, failing to register a single point in 14 games. Just how bad was he during that time? Well, let’s just say that it’s probably not a great sign that his highlight reel from that stretch is constituted of a random pass he made, a pokecheck in his which he helped clear the zone, and a super questionable hit from behind that laid some poor sap out.

After being moved to Altuna, he picked things up, scoring 13 goals in the final 30 games of the season. I honestly don’t know much about his performance in Sweden at all other than those numbers, but obviously the way he finished the year off was promising. For what it’s worth, I’ve read that the massive uptick in production is a result of playing on Altuna’s top line after having been used sparingly during his days in Djurgardens.

He then went on to play 8 games in the AHL, scoring once. The best thing that came from that stretch was this Youtube video of that one lone goal: 

The dramatic music cracks me up, as does the fact that his biggest believers would probably use this as evidence that "he’s willing to go to the dirty areas", while in reality, he casually sauntered in to finish off a lucky bounce, made possible by the defender butchering his assignment. 

From what I gather, fans of his probably exist for one of two reasons:

a) He is listed at 6’2”, 220lbs, and we all know that hockey fans tend to have some sort of weird fetish when it comes to size. Maybe he if grows another inch, and gains a few pounds, he could be the Next Milan Lucic? Probably not, but only because..

b) When the team drafted him, Laurence Gilman had the following things to say: “He’s very much like Jannik Hansen. He’s a tremendous skater who plays with some level of tenacity. We think he can be a solid two-way guy in the NHL “

No pressure, though. As an aside: can we get out of the habit of comparing prospects to current NHL players that not only started from a higher base, but worked their tails off for years just to reach the point that they’re at? It’s not fair to the prospect, and it’s not fair to the player that he’s being compared to. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. But I digress.

The fact remains that there isn’t all that much information out there regarding Blomstrand. Hockey’s Future – definitely not the be-all and end-all, but still another useful source – has him rated as a 6.0 C prospect. That basically means that his potential as a prospect is that of a 3rd line winger (an example being Matt Cooke), who may reach said potential, but may also ultimately wind up being just a minor league forward. Take that for what it’s worth.

I also got in touch with ESPN’s Corey Pronman, who had the following to say on Blomstrand as a prospect:

"Potential bottom 6 guy. Good to very good skater. Works hard, above-average hockey sense, lacks any skill. He’s 16-20 for me in terms of VAN prospects."

So what’s next for him? He’ll be participating in Young Stars Classic set to take place in Penticton this weekend. I suspect that he’ll wind up spending his first full year in North America as a member of the Utica Comets. After that, your guess is as good as mine. For the record, in his age 20 season, Jannik Hansen put up 34 points in 72 games for the Manitoba Moose, before appearing in 10 playoff games as a Canuck. Every prospect develops at his own pace, but those seem like pretty lofty goals for Blomstrand to reach this year.

Ultimately, I think we were wrong on Blomstrand as rankers. I still think that the people who were incredulous that he wasn’t in our rankings need to take a second, settle down, and drink a cooler (What Would Getzlaf Do?). But he should have appeared on the list instead of someone like Yann Sauve. That’s my regret, because Blomstrand could potentially make the NHL one day, while I already know that Sauve is no good.

When we put together our rankings at the end of July, Blomstrand wasn’t even on my radar, quite frankly. When I started putting together this profile, I figured it was destined to be a mostly tongue-in-cheek bit in which I mocked Blomstrand, and his supporters. But after giving it some more thought, I’m open to the decision of re-adjusting and having him somewhere in my 17-19 range.

That’s to say that I don’t think it’s an egregious oversight by our staff (myself included), but there’s merit to the belief that he should have been given more consideration. It’s sort of a hedge, really. Most of the guys in that range definitely have certain attributes that make us believe they could one day become something useful if everything went as planned, but may also very well never wind up amounting to anything more than AHL fodder.

A few closing thoughts on the series itself (that I tweeted out on Friday afternoon, but will repeat here):

*These rankings were subjective, and I speak for everyone involved when I say that we weren’t in any way trying to tell you that we definitively know who these guys will wind up being as players when all is said and done. Far from that. There is nothing definitive about these rankings. The whole point was to gather up as much information as possible on each of them, in an attempt to get fans of the team familiar with them as prospects, and to create a healthy discussion. I think we did that.

*Next summer, if I have my way, we’ll make a switch to a ‘Top 25 Under 25’ series, instead. Would you, the reader, like that format better? It would be more inclusive, and would cover more names, obviously. But suggestions for tweaks to the series are definitely more than welcome.

Other Prospect Profiles in this Series

  • I’d actually prefer to keep the rankings like that, since all the 25 under 25 format would do is include some guys who are already on the NHL roster and I think there’s probably enough analysis/coverage of those guys on CA anyways!

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    “From what I gather, fans of his probably exist for one of two reasons:”

    Neither, actually. I regrettably spent money to watch the Chicago Wolves last year. That was a terrible team, but he was one of the players that stood out, largely because of his skating.

    so I don’t think he has a shot in hell of being a top 6 player, but his combination of size and skating says to me he has a strong shot of being an NHL player, perhaps even an effective one.

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    Thanks for the info. I didn’t really know much about Blomstrand, but had seen his name come up here and there is prospect articles. Although I knew little, it had seemed strange that he didn’t even rank in the top 20. This clarifies things quite a bit.

  • Peachy

    With regards to the format of future series, I’m a big fan of a top 20 ranking based on Calder eligibility. Not that the Canucks have any Calder candidates in the pipe.

    (PS – remember when Jason King got some Calder buzz? http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=83368)

    The top 25 under 25 thing has a lot of value, but I think it would have even more value if combined with an organizational depth chart. Help us readers understand how old the Canucks are now, and what prospects (caliber and age) they have in the pipe at each position. It might help us understand why (for example) it might not be such a big deal that the Canucks don’t have too many defense prospects at the moment.

    My 2c.

    Again though, a general thanks for putting the series on. It was obviously a lot of work and was good fun to read.

  • Considering how painful it seemed to be for the authors to write up the bottom half-dozen or so prospects, and their limited chances at a future NHL career, I’d say the top 20 seems like plenty. You don’t really feel like writing about 5 guys worse than the Yann Sauves and Alex Friesens on this list do you?

    Maybe in 6-10 years if we find ourselves in a rebuild (er, “transition” era, that is) and we actually have some prospect depth, but until then I’d say leave as is, too depressing to read more “so this guy will never make beans anywhere but it’s all we have so good luck when Danny and Hank and Lu and Burr and Juice retire and Kesler is broken, and Jannik Hansen and the ghost of Higgins’ abs are top sixers, and maybe you’re lucky with Horvat and Gaunce and Corrado, or maybe we go for a lottery pick and cry as Schneids wins a Vezina and Hodgson and Grabner have 65 point seasons”

    In the meantime, Go Canucks Go!

  • Whatever list you decide on, it’d be cool to make it prospects only. No need to note down players that just graduated.

    It’d be great if this guy developed to the level of Hansen. Jannik won’t be around forever. Blomstand may not have great hands but if he’s willing to go to the rough areas and play physical then he will likely be a solid bottom six guy (duh). He seems to have some hockey IQ and can skate.

    Hey! Where’s our little buddy?! NM00, where are you? Captain Coilder, we need you! 🙂

  • I’d go the opposite direction, mainly because I am that guy, and widdle this down a lot. Go top 10. If a guy isn’t in the top 10 he isn’t making the NHL. And if he isn’t making the League, then I personally don’t give two figs about him as a player (as a person I wish him well).

    That said, August is August and content must be filled for this great site to remain relevant. Maybe there are other ways rather than ranking prospects (a tried and true content machine) that would keep us coming back.

    • I agree with this.

      There aren’t 600 legit NHL prospects so going 20 deep, in a shallow system no less, seems a little too much.

      Personally, based on the strength of the current Canucks system, profiling the front 5 with a feature on the leftover lottery picks seems comprehensive enough.

      But if the series is going to be extended, could it be the top 28 under 28 and include former Canuck prospects playing in other organizations?

      I need to know the progress of Schneider, Grabner, Hodgson & KConn for the sake of completeness.

      • pheenster

        Schneider – Still a backup.

        Grabner – Had one really good season, has tailed off considerably since. See Raymond, Mason.

        Hodgson – May be one of the worst defensive forwards in the NHL. He and his team clearly have different feelings regards his value.

        KConn – As you so clearly enjoy pointing out (as you’ve done it so many times), he seemed to get a turbo injection of talent upon his ejection from the Canucks system. This one may come back to bite us. Or it may not.

        How’s that?

  • andyg

    Having a 4th line that can give you 8 to 12 min a game is important, especially in the playoffs.This guy is the perfect 4 line winger. He can really skate and has good size.(218lb)

  • 25 under 25 is SBN’s stupid thing, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before we replicate that format here.

    Top-20 works because there’s generally 20 week days in August and nothing else to talk about (generally). Based on the success of this series the past couple seasons, changing anything would be a mistake. Just my two cents.

  • pheenster

    I actually like hearing about the 20-10 ranked prospects, if only so I have a better idea of what’s going on in the organization as a whole.

    A top 5 ranking list would be ultimately incredibly boring. I know who all those guys are, they’re well chronicled. Hearing about what’s going on with Sauve and co is much more interesting. Plus, like Drance says, 20 weekdays is a good reason to do 20 prospects. What else are you going to talk about? 20 doughnuts?

    • andyg

      “Hearing about what’s going on with Sauve and co is much more interesting.”

      I respectfully disagree.

      In all seriousness though, I’m not sure what the schedules are for CA writers…

      But if it’s a choice between the 6-20 “prospects” or 15 other articles, I’d prefer the latter.

      In my opinion, there are more interesting subjects to explore than the career path of replacement players or the occasional middle reliever.

      If Frank Corrado has to wait an extra year to have a full article written on him, so be it.

      Prospect status should be earned.

      Then again, who am I to say anything?

      The content is free after all and I have no stake in the popularity of this site.

      It likely makes no sense to placate the resident contrarian.

  • andyg

    I like the Top 25 under 25……. Might save us from dog days articles like the “All-Winnipeg Team” or “What Should Eddie Lack name his new Pug!” Just Kidding, I’d like to see those articles also.

  • andyg

    Am I the only one who appreciates the irony of lambasting Ludwig’s “biggest believers” for liking his size and skating while have Kellan Lain at 10 for those very same reasons?

  • I don’t think there’s any reason we can’t hit those other angles while also covering 20 prospects in the summer.

    Fact is: other than Canucks.com, no one really covers players like McNally etc., and obv. cDC isn’t quite as objective (though Tyson does excellent work). As such it’s unique content for us. Also we’ve generally been first to prospect news in the Canucks media-sphere (Rodin returning to Sweden/McNally’s suspension etc.) and I think the prospect series supplements our market position.

    So yeah, that’s what’s up.

  • Keep it to 20; 25 in 25 is someone else’s and top ten (or top five?) is way too restrictive. I want to see what progress prospects have made — too assume that anyone not in the top ten won’t ever make the NHL assumes there’s no development on the one hand or no regression/stagnation on the other. Sauve at one point WAS in our top ten of prospects and looked like he’d develop into a solid two way defenseman with size, while Corrado and Hansen looked to be fringe at best.

    I understand the cringe over losing Connaughton for a useless rental in Roy but he’s the same guy he was before, he didn’t get to be better just by going to Dallas’ farm team. He’s still a skilled offensive defenseman with a heavy shot and suspect defensive positioning. We could afford to sacrifice him for a gamble because of the emergence of Corrado and Tommernes and having an offensive d-prospect in McNally.

    Comparing what our prospects are doing in other systems, I don’t know about that. Grabner was useless in Florida, hence the waiver wire pickup by the ever cheap Isles, and Umberger sucked with the Rangers and was middling with Philly.

  • Also, to respond to the earlier suggestion about a late round draft pick all-star team, which I think would be interesting, I found it curious that Detroit (against whose drafts we always seem to rate ourselves so unfavorably because of Datsyuk and Zetterberg in particular) has had 5 draftees since 2008 play any games in the NHL; the Canucks have had 4 (though one of them is obviously Hodgson). Despite the constant harping about the poor drafting by the Canucks (and there’s no doubt there’s been some of that) I think draft position and luck obviously play a bigger role in all of this than some would credit.

  • lol So you’ve never seen him play, and then have the audacity to sh*t on fans that have seen him play? All the while, stat watching? Because you know nothing of this player? Seems to me you shouldn’t be in the position your in, if you’re not gonna be putting any effort in. I’ve seen Blomstrand play numerous times, and he may never be a top six player, he has a pretty good shot at being in a checking role, exactly what he was drafted for. After Hansen was drafted I’m not sure how many people labeled him as an NHLer. Don’t get all butt-hurt because other people know more than you do.

    • andyg

      The problem is that people always rate players based on the top 2 lines or top 4 D. If a player is solid defensively but has limited offensive upside then they rate them low.

      However no team is complete with out top end defensive players.

      • andyg

        That doesn’t make sense as Lane is ranked high. His upside is extremely limited offensively, most likely topping out as fourth line player. Whereas, Andersson has more potential to reach top four status, than as Lane does as top 6. I saw a lot from Andersson last year, and we’ll most likely see him in a Canucks jersey for a few games. The only reason why I’m voicing my displeasure for this particular list is because of how arrogant the writer is, while showing a lack of knowledge on the subject.

  • andyg

    I think player comparables are more a way to demonstrate a prospects ceiling potential and playing style.

    I’m no expert, but I’m just curious, how is Blomstrand so much further down the depth chart than guys like Archibald, Mallet, Grenier and Lain? I mean at most each of the 5 is most like to top out as a third-line forward. I understand that each of the 4 ranked players are further along in their development, but shouldn’t Blomstrand be included in that general ranking area?

    I’m not complaining, just discussing. To be honest, if you asked me for my top 20, I wouldn’t have even remembered Blomstrand. After reading the series, I’d probably slot him in the 10-15 area with the others mentioned above.

    I loved the series and looked forward to it daily. I also love the great job you do at Canucks Army! Hopefuly the format stays the same next year. It’s very well done!