The Canucks could add Nils Höglander to their team at the beginning of the 2020-21 season and he is making a strong case for it with his play in the SHL.
Even though the point totals haven’t been at an elite level, Höglander is playing an excellent two-way game this season. Höglander has played in nine regular-season SHL games and has totalled up five assists in those nine games. He has recently been taken off of the powerplay unit and is now being relied upon to produce strictly at 5-on-5.
Thanks to our friends at BetterThanAMonkey, we have been able to access some advanced statistics from Höglander’s season so far.
Out of players who have played at least 100 minutes, he is currently second in Corsi for percentage (CF%).
The only player in the league with a higher CF% is his teammate (but not linemate) Leon Bristedt, who wears number 67 for Rögle BK.
Höglander has 15 shots on net in nine games and has a ton more attempted shots. His goal on every shift looks to be to get the puck on net or around it so that he and his linemates can work with the puck around the crease as much as possible.
Nice move by Nils Hoglander (#21) to get to the slot before firing a shot on net. pic.twitter.com/wQ3gfKaGdE
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🤙🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) October 15, 2020
Not only does he have a very high CF%, he is also tracking as one of the best and most fun to watch players in the league. He is off the charts compared to the other top players who have played at least 50 minutes in the SHL.
He finally broke his pointless streak on Thursday’s game where he picked up the primary assist on the game-winning goal for Rögle BK.
It’s unfortunate that he is not getting powerplay time as that will result in a hit to his point totals. Through that he is being forced to commit to more of a two-way game and that is good for his potential NHL stint at the beginning of this upcoming season.
Höglander has a chance to make the Canucks out of training camp as he could be in Vancouver as soon as December 13th to begin his quarantine.
The latest I have heard from the Höglander camp is that they want to stay in North America once they come over. Höglander could end up playing with the AHL team or be a part of the travel team. It’s not really set in stone how that is going to work next season. If you look at the Canucks’ depth chart for wingers, Höglander should be above guys like Jonah Gadjovich, Kole Lind and potentially can win a spot over Loui Eriksson or Zack MacEwen with a strong performance at training camp.
He does have an out clause that could send him back to the SHL to finish up his season and that wouldn’t be a bad thing for his development either. Unlike fellow top prospect Vasili Podkolzin, Höglander gets top six time overseas and is trusted by his coaches to compete at a high level.
Höglander is currently listed at 183 pounds and though he is short, he does not lack the size to play in the NHL right now. This current season is his third SHL season as he has already played in over 100 professional games overseas. He’s ready for a move to a better league and though it didn’t seem possible just a couple of months ago, Höglander could work his way into the opening night lineup for the Canucks.
Don’t bet on it, but I wouldn’t bet against it right now, either.