Canucks fans and hockey enthusiasts...today is 2010 Draft Day in the NHL. One of the most exciting and optimistic days among fans and glorious and dicey among management. The perfect storm in Fandom.
What we all want is solid information. Well, a whole year has passed since Vancouver selected Swedish winger Anton Rödin with the 53rd overall pick. He has had a year more of development and I took the opportunity to catch up with my Swedish hockey insider Johan Nilsson of EliteProspects.com . It covers the 2010 World Junior Championships, Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson (EDM), his role in the Swedish Elite League currently, and more.
Anton Rödin was Vancouver’s 2nd round selection (53rd overall) just one year ago. In reviewing a number of the Canucks’ prospects, the youngster from Sweden had obviously impressed the brass with his play in his 2nd tier league back home – enough to get the call in the second round.
It was his play since in the 2010 World Junior Championships that left me impressed. I always watch the tournament closely and despite being slack-jawed at the performance of New Jersey Devils’ future winger Mattias Tedenby, Rödin’s play was also remarkable. While slight, he makes things happen and can be a catalyst on both offense and defense. He played in the Swedish Elite League for part this season and is set for another.
There are definitely some intangibles in his favour. I caught up with my colleague Johan Nilsson, the webmaster from Elite Prospects this week and got the low-down on a special prospect for a rabid fan-base:
Robin: There is a preconception out there that Rödin is a slick offensive player and that his defensive game is sound as well. Can you elaborate on that for our readers and possibly highlight how he might fit in amongst some pretty dynamic young forwards coming into Vancouver’s plans such as Cody Hodgson, Michael Grabner, and Jordan Schroeder?
Johan @ EP: The good thing with Rödin is that I feel he can develop into a good team/role player in case he does not make it as a scoring line player. He plays with such intensity and speed, so he could turn out to be a very valuable fore-checking forward. Still, I hope he manages to translate his offense to the NHL, but first of all he needs to the same in a men’s league in Sweden. I do see a future NHLer in him, though, it remains to be seen in which role though. Seems pretty wide open to me at this point.
Robin: Rödin had a pretty incredible 2010 World Junior Championships performance, despite Sweden not doing as well as projected by many, including myself. What was his niche on that team and how did he expand his role?
Johan @ EP: He was not relied on to be one of the top scoring players prior to the tournament, but ended up second on the team in points. He was supposed to play a good two-way game and chip in offensively once in a while, but quickly became on one of the top offensive players on the team, often creating scoring changes on his own. Sweden’s top three lines received pretty much the same amount of ice time and Rödin’s role was the same, more or less, throughout the tournament.
Robin: Does Rödin’s noted offensive skills have more room to develop, or is it his core strength or size that needs to be brought along?
Johan @ EP: There is certainly room for improvement, since he has yet to translate his productivity to men’s hockey. He must learn where to be positioned and so on while facing better defensemen than those he did in the juniors. He is pretty shifty and smart though, so I think he will figure it out.. hopefully this upcoming season.
Robin: There are some comparisons between Rödin with fellow Swede, Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson. How much of this do you think is fair?
Johan @ EP: Pääjärvi’s upside is greater. I see him potentially becoming a player to finish among the top 10 point scorers in the NHL, but I do not think Rödin’s ceiling is that high. They both have the speed in common and offensive awareness, but I think Pääjärvi is more mature, obviously stronger and more explosive and also he covers the puck better and thus gets more time to deliver good passes.
Robin: How has the Stockholm-born winger’s physical game advanced after a full season in the SEL and how do you see him getting an opportunity down the road with Vancouver? He recently signed a contract with the Canucks, but it seems that he has at least another season left in your backyard.
Johan @ EP: It is difficult to say just after one season playing in a men’s league (often with very limited ice time). The previous season he dominated the juniors and his physical strength was rarely tested. This past season, obviously it was tougher, but to know for sure how he has progressed in that regard, one would have to compare his season to the upcoming season. I hope to see him get more minutes now while being lent out to Brynäs after signing the deal with the Canucks.
Robin: Certainly glad you could sit down and chat with us Johan.
25 June 2010 / Robin Keith Thompson