The 97th ranked prospect in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft is diminutive forward Lukas Wernblom.
His draft minus one season was really encouraging and many thought that with a larger role in the Allsvenskan this past season that Wernblom would take that next step forward. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to produce a single point with MODO in the Allsvenskan this season despite some encouraging offensive production in the SuperElit.
As we’ll see below, there are some red flags to his underlying data but there is also a lot to like about his play on the international stage as he regularly represented the Tre Kroner throughout his development.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at Swedish forward Lukas Wernblom
- Age/Birthdate: 17.15/ July 22, 2000
- Birthplace: Ornskoldsvik, SWE
- Frame: 5-foot-9/ 174 lbs
- Position: C/LW
- Draft Year Team: MODO Hockey J20(Superelit)
- U16 SM Silver Medal
- WSI U15 Most Valuable Player
- J18 Allsvenskan (North) Best Plus/Minus (+21)
- TV-Pucken Best Forward (Sven Tumbas Stipendium)
- TV-Pucken Gold Medal
- U16 4 Nations Tournament Best Forward
- U16 SM Best Forward
- J18 SM Gold Medal
- J20 SM Gold Medal
- U17 WHC Gold Medal
- Hlinka Memorial Bronze Medal
- J18 SM Silver Medal
- U18 WJC Bronze Medal
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This is only 50% of his season as the remainder was spent in the Allsvenskan or representing Sweden at various international tournaments.
This 5-on-5 event tracker is concerning. Combine with his event tracker above and it’s clear that he relied on powerplay situations for production and gave up quite a few goals against while on the ice.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Needless to say, there are some concerning points here as generally, his teammates did better without Wernblom. With that being said, the draft-eligible prospect did only appear in 20 games at that level this season.
As can be expected when looking at SuperElit players, the success rate is quite low and when they are successful, the names stand out because of the quality of player. Wernblom was just slightly older and was slightly outproduced by Carl Hagelin and Gustav Nyqvist but on the flipside, Wernblom was younger and produced more than Viktor Arvidsson.
It’s hard to take any conclusive evidence from this data when looking at such a league as SuperElit.
His production in the Allsvenskan, or lack thereof, and his production in the SuperElit tell two different stories – which isn’t surprising in the slightest.
Let’s start with the obvious and that Wernblom’s underlying data is not encouraging. His goals for percentage leaves a lot to be desired and a mediocre success rate among his cohorts means that teams shouldn’t be tripping over themselves to select the undersized forward. That has to be taken into consideration when evaluating any prospect and why data is used to make the best decisions possible.
For Wernblom, what I really liked about his game this season are his puck skills, his quick release, and willingness to battle despite being one of the smaller players on the ice.
The Ornskoldsvik, native is quick with the puck. Able to adjust his lanes and speed quickly to lose defenders in the open ice when on the attack. It causes his opponents to come to a stop or lose their tracking and then Wernblom can use his quick bursts of puck movement or skating to create an open space to pass or shoot. That ability allows him just the little bit of extra time to make a play rather than being forced into a decision. He is good at getting the puck and then quickly containing it to get a shot off. A display of that can be found from a goal of his at the U18’s:
— Tre Kronor (@Trekronorse) April 23, 2018
His feistiness is something that stands out at every level and is shown in his penalty minutes. Obviously, he is giving up size to every player that he is getting it with but it’s something that is noteworthy as he won’t be pushed around and if he does get overpowered, he isn’t afraid to re-engage and take on the battle again.
Although he struggled to put up points at the Allsvenskan level and there are some very concerning red flags with the underlying numbers at the SuperElit level, there is a lot to like about his game. He is smart offensively, willing to be physical despite his size. He’s been a leader for the Swedish national team for years and should be taken into consideration given that he is playing against his peers and has done well regularly. Including posting four goals and one assist in seven games at the most recent U18 World Championships. If it was one tournament, then it might be easy to dismiss as just a one-off but the fact that he has been consistently producing there which is encouraging.
Sometimes you do have to take a flyer on a skilled player who has put up numbers in certain areas of play but has struggled in his draft season. Given that he is ranked 97th overall, that is an early 4th round pick and sometimes it’s worth it to take a risk on this type of player instead of a defensive specialist at the CHL level.
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Undersized but gritty Wernblom was a tough challenger and was in opponent’s face all the time with his net drive and feisty playing style. Loves to battle and is present in after whistle scrums, Wernblom is also gifted with the puck and displayed quick skating, accelerated quickly.
CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings
|#98 Nando Eggenberger||#99 Matthew Struthers||#100 Shawn Bourdias|