Rising from 41st in NHL CSS mid-term rankings to 14th in the final rankings among European skaters, Nils Lundkvist, also listed as Lundqvist, checks in as the 37th ranked prospect in the CanucksArmy 2018 NHL Entry Draft rankings.
Like many 17-year-old defensive prospects, Lundkvist does need to work on his defensive play but there is little doubt about the offensive side to his game. He makes a great pass, moves with the puck, and is smooth on his feet.
He may take a few more years to make his mark in North America but there is a lot like about this young Swedish defender.
- Age/Birthdate:14/ July 27, 2000
- Birthplace: Pitea, SWE
- Frame:5-foot-11/ 174 lbs
- Position: Defence
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Lulea HF(SHL)
Awards by season
- J18 Elit (North) Most Assists by Defenseman (15)
- J20 SuperElit Best Defenseman
- U18 WJC Bronze Medal
Despite splitting his time between the J20 league and the SHL this season, Lundkvist was still named the SuperElit J20 Best Defenceman this past season. He has signed an extension with Lulea is expected to secure a full-time role with the big club for the 2018-19 season.
He appeared in six playoff games for the J20 team, where he put up five assists.
|GP||G||A||P||SEAL||INV%||5v5 Pr INV%||5v5 eP160||Sh/Gp||Sh%||GF%||GF%rel||GD60rel||XLS%||XPR||xVAL|
*the above charts are from his time in the SuperElite*
These three were from his time in the SHL this season.
In terms of percentiles, Lundkvist rates very well for his SuperElit play with a GF% above 60%. In his time there, he obviously saw some powerplay time which aided his point totals.
On the SHL side, he rates a bit lower due to the fact that he was 17 years old playing in the SHL in a middle pairing role. He averaged 16:00 minutes of ice time during the regular season and then saw 16:28 per game in the two playoff games for Lulea. Obviously, his point totals in the SHL aren’t noteworthy but as mentioned multiple times before in profiles – just being in the SHL during your draft season is a great sign. Not to mention, he is fairly young for this draft class with a July birthday.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Some encouraging signs in the fact that he isn’t in the bottom of the production chart and there are some good underlying numbers in terms of GF%, with some drag on his teammates. He was regularly paired Joonas Jalvanti and Daniel Sondell as the more defensively inclined and conservative player of the two.
But that didn’t stop him from joining the rush when the opportunity was there.
His SuperElit production produces a success rate of 5.5% of cohorts going onto becoming NHL regulars. But he was named top defender in the league.
Despite being limited to five points, his SHL time produces a more favourable outlook in terms of pGPS and XLS%. 37.6% of his cohorts went onto becoming NHL regulars with Jonas Brodin showing up as the closest comparable player at the time.
Lundkvist is a player that saw his stock rise as the season went on because of his ability to move the puck. He is an intelligent defender who can skate very well and uses those skating abilities in a variety of ways.
He is quick to join the rush or just carries it himself – he loves having the puck on his stick and making things happen. At first glance, you’d think his stick is too long and thus limit his ability to control the puck but he is so fluid on his feet and makes it work.
Lundkvist is aggressive on the attack, regularly dropping below the circles to make things happen. It can get him into trouble though as a turnover and the other team is going in the other direction. But he does have the skating ability to get back if needed.
His puck distribution skills are noteworthy as he moves the puck in the zone very well and when afforded the chance, he can run a powerplay.
I like his slapshot in the sense that it’s raw and already has some serious velocity. His technique on that shot leaves something to be desired and thus I think it could be even better when he does refine it through technique and coaching. Combine that with his puck-moving and skating skills and it’s easy to see him being a powerplay quarterback.
On the defensive side of the game, he is a work in progress. He is very good at getting the puck out of the zone when he does retrieve it, whether that is through that crisp first pass or via carrying it out himself. His long stick does help him keep opponents honest as they can’t just attack straight him.
The bigger issue lies in his strength and his ability to defend when things get gritty along the boards and in front. From my viewings in the SHL, there are times where he has been moved aside as a bigger player dictates where he wants to go.
On the flip side, when he played against his peers in international tournaments, those issues were not present. It leads me to believe it’s simply the fact that he is a slight 17-year-old defender in the SHL but is something that he will need to work on to ensure he is given ample ice-time to flourish offensively.
Lundkvist’s name started to be whispered as a high prospect in this draft class following the 5 Nations Cup. His lacklustre point totals in the SHL and smaller size made it easy to dismiss him as a late-round selection and nothing more. That tournament made people think there was more there and thus eyes were focused in on him with many realizing that there is a high ceiling to the Pitea born defender.
His skating, puck moving, and overall offensive upside suggests that Lundkvist is worthy of being included in this tier of defenders and may have a relatively high ceiling as an offensive defenceman.
Just being in the SHL is a good sign – Lulea wasn’t a horrific team and he was able to hold down a regular spot. With more opportunity to produce offence next season, we may see Lundkvist’s point totals increase dramatically next season. He is smart and talented enough, just needs to be in the right situations on the ice.
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With his late July birthday, Lundkvist is quite young for the 2018 NHL Draft but he has already spent most of the season in the SHL the top league in Sweden. Playing in the SHL is impressive as not many 17-year-old defensemen can do that – and when they do, it’s usually either playing limited minutes or they are on a bad team. His Luleå team is on its way to the playoffs and Lundkvist’s average ice time is almost 16 minutes per game. Lundkvist is a smart offensive defenseman who loves to join the rush. His skating is very good and his puck-movement is excellent, but his defensive game needs improvement. Lundkvist has been a quick riser in draft rankings and is now considered a possible first round selection. He needs some time to physically mature but his offensive upside is very good.
CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings