Landing in the 11th spot is Swedish centre Isac Lundestrom.
A mainstay for the Swedish junior teams throughout his junior career, Lundstrom has been a regular in the SHL for the past two seasons and now has 91 games of experience at level.
He ended the year with 15 points in 42 games this year while producing some great two-way underlying numbers and draft analytical data.
The only question to his game is his offensive ceiling but there is little doubt about his trajectory towards an NHL career.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.86/ November 6, 1999
- Birthplace: SWE
- Frame:6-foot-0/ 185 lbs
- Draft Year Team: Lulea HF(SHL)
- J20 SuperElit (Overall) Most Points by U16 Junior (1)
- U17 WHC Bronze Medal
- U18 WJC Silver Medal
- SHL Most Points by U18 Junior (6)
- U20 WJC Silver Medal
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We don’t see many teenagers have this much experience at the SHL level ahead of their draft class and combine that with the sparkling GF% and GFREL%, there is a lot to like about his game. He stands in term of SEAL and XLS% simply because he has been in the top league in Sweden.
His production won’t stand out but ranks well when looking at U19 players, finishing third among that group in points, trailing only Rasmus Dahlin and Lukas Elvenes.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Two things stand out about these graphs.
Despite having a limited role with Lulea, he made the most of his time in terms of production and generally made everyone better in GF% WOWY. He’s all alone in terms of GF% in the SHL Teammates Chart.
Looking strictly at his points, size and age – 59.6% of his cohorts went onto becoming NHL regulars. There are some really notable names that he out-produced and he isn’t far off the other names on there. We see high success rates among draft-eligible players who see limited production in the SHL during their draft season but their pGPS produces a lower percentage that the blanket success rate.
Whereas Lundestrom stands out on his own.
Isac Lundestrom is a player that you know what you are going to get when you draft him.
He is an effective in his two way player with a responsible mindset that has some decent and noteworthy offensive skills.
When creating offence, he is a good playmaker with a soft touch to thread passes to his linemates. He displays patience with the puck and uses his quick hands to move the puck well. His shot isn’t fantastic as it lacks velocity but the release on his snapshot is good enough to beat goalies before they can get set and react.
Lundestrom has good speed that comes from strong and effective strides. He doesn’t have really quick acceleration but doesn’t take long to get going as his strides are fluid and direct. He is good at gaining speed in the neutral zone and then driving along the boards to draw defenders with him, he then flips it to his open teammate.
I’ve really liked his ability to protect the puck while in stride, able to lean with his leg to protect the puck-lane. Defenders can’t get through him to get to the puck, which allows him to do things as he chooses. When he doesn’t have the puck, he does generally play high in the offensive zone, as it appears that he is leaning towards the defensive side, but can slip into coverage easily to find those gaps.
Overall, his offensive game is good, and he was able to generate offence in a variety of ways, but he may lack that game-breaking offensive tools that some of the other prospects in this range have.
Lundstrom posted really impressive GF% numbers for any player in the SHL and given that he is only 18 years old, it’s even more noteworthy. It wasn’t simply that he outscored his opponent when he was on the ice, it was his line just shutting down the opponent. He uses the skills I outlined above to intelligently and effectively cut off passing lanes and move the puck out of the zone efficiently.
He is patient and reads his opponents extremely well.
The Lulea centre isn’t afraid to grind it out in his own zone to win puck battles.
Lundestrom isn’t a player that will make his mark every time he is out there. He disappears into the game in a good way as he keeps his play in his own zone very tidy while producing positive underlying numbers. Lundestrom is a just really smart player with a good toolbox.
Lundestrom has struggled in the faceoff circle at the SHL level, but that isn’t shocking and likely why we don’t see many teenagers as regulars at centre.
The major concern is what his ceiling might end up being. Given his skillset, it’s easy to see him topping out as a two-way third line centre who can help in an offensive role in a pinch. The defensive side to the game is often overlooked and is likely why Lundestrom isn’t a sexy pick. There is reason to believe he has more to give on the offensive side of the game with a larger role, and the scoring rates suggest that he has more to give, combined with his own zone play and there is a chance he could defy those expectations. Even if it doesn’t come together, you’ll walk away with a 3rd line centre and that isn’t a horrible thing.
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From Future Considerations:
The centerman skates well, with speed and mobility and balance. He’s a heady player and can produce offensively. Even without the puck and away from the play, he’s engaged in the play, actively seeking open lanes to become accessible to his linemates. When appropriate. Lundestrom would head for the net and look for rebounds and deflections. He’s got a nice flair for offense, whether he’s onetiming a shot or supporting teammates in enemy territory. Impressive decision-making with the puck. Quick hands. His release is admirable, but his shot could use an improvement in accuracy and power. He shows nice vision, with a real awareness of his linemates. Calm, but not afraid to grab the puck in the neutral zone and take over. He uses his body to shield the puck from opponents. Defensively, he’s smart and willingly shoulders a lot of responsible. With his high level of anticipation, he is able to intercept passes and take possession of loose pucks. He’s not the most physical player, but he doesn’t run from contact. Not afraid to take a hit or make a hit. Willing to run plays in traffic if necessary. A strong understanding of hockey, particularly team play, he offers a mature style of play. Confident in all aspects – and all zones – of the game, he displays a commendable workrate.
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CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings