After beginning the year in the Swedish J20 league, Jonathan Myrenberg has worked his way into an SHL lineup.
The Vancouver Canucks’ fifth-round pick from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft has impressed enough to work his way into Linköping’s starting lineup. He is one of seven U19 defenceman in the SHL this season and that meant that we had to dive into the tape to see how he is looking.
When we first conducted research on Myrenberg, there were a couple of skills that we loved.
We saw the offensive intelligence that he possessed. He consistently found quality shots in the offensive zone that led to scoring chances. On top of that, he was fearless when it came to jumping in on the attack. Myrenberg never hesitates to join in on an offensive rush.
The part that worried us was his commitment to defence. The effort level that we loved in the offensive zone seemed to disappear when he was back checking and defending in his own zone.
We knew that his offensive skills were there and knew that he could get to the SHL if he could commit to being better defensively. We thought it would take a year or two before he was consistently playing in the SHL.
We were wrong.
Here we are with him dressing for six of the eight Linköping regular season games while still getting five J20 games in. He played over 21 minutes in four of those five J20 games with a season high of 33 minutes in one game where he scored a goal just seconds after ringing a shot off the post.
His SHL ice time has been growing over the past week and we were hoping that it was coming from strong defensive play. He is without a point through six SHL games, so we had to see what he was doing to gain the coach’s trust.
He’s still chasing pucks a bit more than you’d like to see from a defenceman, but it’s clear that he is giving much more attention to the defensive side of the game. His pre-draft tape rarely found him as the last man back when defending a rush like this one.
We had a lot of worries about Jonathan Myrenberg’s defence when he was drafted but his effort level has definitely improved and he is getting consistent SHL time because of it.
Good job here being the last man back, breaking up the rush and blocking a shot to create a turnover. pic.twitter.com/onT7QsQka3
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) October 12, 2021
He still has a long way to go when it comes to his defensive game but at least the effort level has improved. In this next clip, he was trusted to play during three-on-three overtime but loses his man for a partial breakaway.
Like we said, there’s still a long way to go.
Another area where Myrenberg has vastly improved over the offseason is his physical play. Myrenberg may not be throwing huge open ice hits just yet but he is learning how to use his 6’2”, 190lbs frame to his advantage.
Here’s a BOGO gif of him being physical and under control as he separates the opposing forward from the puck.
He is continuing to develop, and the best part about his defensive game is that he is great at quickly transitioning the puck up ice to create offence.
Nice play to force a turnover, and a strong stretch pass to spring a quick rush.
Jonathan Myrenberg is beginning to fit-in nicely in the SHL. pic.twitter.com/wynMmv8lls
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) October 12, 2021
His puck-moving ability is likely the main reason why the Canucks drafted him in the first place. It is far and away his best skill on the ice.
When he is given time and space, Myrenberg consistently makes strong stretch passes to spark offensive rushes. His passes are hard and accurate. To go with his hard stretch passes, he has finesse and can make quality saucer passes when under pressure by a forechecker.
Here’s another BOGO gif of Myrenberg making stretch passes to create a pair of offensive rushes.
His passing has been good but not great in the SHL. He still flubs some zone exits and throws the puck in his partner’s skates.
One part of his game that has transferred over from the J20 league is his ability to carry pucks up ice.
Myrenberg is a larger defenceman and once he gets a full head of steam, he’s hard to stop during a rush.
Through six SHL games, Myrenberg is averaging 7:56 of ice time with a season high of 13:15 last week against Växjö.
He is exceeding our expectations early in the season and if he continues to earn his SHL coach’s trust, more minutes will come. Linköping is a good organization for opportunity as they are currently the second-worst team in the SHL with a 1-1-1-5 record (one regulation win, one overtime win, one overtime loss and five regulation losses).
Though Myrenberg is a long-shot to make Sweden’s World Junior team this December, he is eligible for the next two tournaments and should be a strong contender for the 2023 team if he continues to improve at this rate.
We love it when prospects improve on their deficiencies and that is exactly what Myrenberg has done this offseason. He came into this season with much more focus in the defensive zone and that has earned him SHL ice time.
Jonathan Myrenberg is now a prospect to follow as he is an 18-year-old getting consistent minutes in the SHL. The cherry on top is that he is at a premier position as a right-shot defenceman.
We will certainly be following along as his season continues and will keep you updated if there begins to be some World Junior buzz around the offensive defenceman.