NHL Prospect Profile: Nils Höglander

– Nils Höglander –

Rögle BK | Left-Wing | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible

Bockträsk, Sweden | December 20th, 2000 | 5-foot-9, 185-pounds

Although he began the 2018-19 season as a relative unknown, Nils Höglander has quickly established himself as a premier prospect eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.

Despite his small stature, Höglander plays a fearless game and has come to be well-known for his break-neck speed and lethal offensive capabilities. Extremely shifty and endlessly dynamic, Höglander plays the game with a ton of heart and strives to drive his team’s on ice success.

While there is certainly room for improvement within Höglander’s game, the youngster’s proven play with Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League as a 17-year-old this season speaks volumes with regards to his future potential at the NHL-level.

Strengths:

  • Skating Ability
  • Puck Skills
  • Physicality
  • Tenacity

Stellar skating and superb puck skills have come to define Höglander’s impressive and growing game, as the native of Bockträsk, Sweden is as potent as they come. Capable of darting throughout the ice with speed and purpose, Höglander can navigate all three zones of the ice extremely well and features undeniable breakaway speed.

Related: 2019 NHL Draft Rankings

If afforded with ample time and space — a luxury which he himself often creates — Höglander’s lightning-quick hands and brisk release make him a devastating offensive threat. Known for his willingness to dangle opposing defenders en route to the goal, Höglander is wildly creative and will devise high-percentage scoring chances through sheer will and imagination alone.

Related: 2019 NHL Draft Prospect Profiles

Amplifying Höglander’s impressive offensive skill set is his determination to make a positive impact in all aspects of the game. Not only a skillful scorer and playmaker, Höglander loves to throw his weight around and dish out bone-rattling bodychecks to his opposition. Although regularly one of the smallest players on the ice, Höglander’s fearless nature and determination to succeed have the ability to inject energy and enthusiasm into his fellow teammates.

Weaknesses:

  • Skating Balance
  • Puck Protection

Given Höglander’s lack of stature, maintaining his balance while on his skates and protecting the puck pose a natural challenge — and especially so given the stern competition he faces on a game-by-game basis in the SHL. Although a smooth and polished skater, Höglander can be forced off of the puck by opponents who own a significant physical advantage.

Related: 2019 NHL Draft International Prospect Profiles

Fortunately for Höglander, he is well aware of these areas of weakness and is working hard to improve both aspects of his game. A persistent presence in the gym and learning how to shield the puck while at top speed, Höglander could develop into a prospect similar in playing style to Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins in the coming years.

Future Potential:

In the long-term, Höglander projects to become a devastating yet versatile top-six forward at the NHL-level. Although he would benefit greatly from playing time in the American Hockey League before ascending to the NHL, Höglander’s impressive experience at the SHL-level will do wonders for his personal progression in the immediate future.

Sure, Höglander’s size could be a detracting factor for NHL organizations come the 2019 NHL Draft. However, as we have seen of late, players of smaller stature and lethal skill have come to command a growing place within today’s NHL, and deservedly so given their ability to dictate offensive play.

Ultimately, if able to refine his game while adding greater overall strength to his frame, Höglander could prove to be a hidden gem within the 2019 NHL Draft class and a likely first-round selection.

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