The Edmonton Oilers finally saw some return on their Swedish investments in 2013-14. Oscar Klefbom struggled in game one, but thereafter showed improvement each shift, and he ended the season having made a solid first impression.
NHL TOTAL PLAYERS/SWEDISH PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL
- 2013 NHL draft—211 total players, 26 from Sweden
- 2012 NHL draft–211 total players, 21 from Sweden
- 2011 NHL draft, 211 total players, 25 from Sweden
- 2010 NHL draft 210 total players, 21 from Sweden
- 2009 NHL draft, 211 total players, 22 from Sweden
- 2008 NHL draft, 211 total players, 19 from Sweden
- FINAL TALLY: 1265 total players, 134 from SEL
- PERCENTAGE: 10.5%
OILERS TOTAL PLAYERS/SWEDISH PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL
- 2013 NHL draft—10 total players, 0 from Sweden
- 2012 NHL draft–7 total players, 1 from Sweden
- 2011 NHL draft–9 total players, 1 from the Sweden
- 2010 NHL draft–11 total players, 1 from the Sweden
- 2009 NHL draft–7 total players, 2 from the Sweden
- 2008 NHL draft–5 total players, 0 from the Sweden
- FINAL TALLY: 49 total players, 5 from the Sweden
- PERCENTAGE: 10.2%
The Oilers use the Swedish talent pool exactly average. However, the club has been using some dear picks on Swedes.
SWEDISH PLAYERS DRAFTED DURING STU MACGREGOR ERA
- Johan Motin, 103rd overall in 2008 (1 NHL game)
- Magnus Paajarvi 10th overall in 2009 (218 NHL games)
- Anton Lander 40th overall in 2009 (94 NHL games)
- Oscar Klefbom 19th overall in 2011 (17 NHL games)
- Erik Gustafsson 93rd overall in 2012
The important thing to look at here? Where the players were selected. Sweden, unique among European countries, is an area the Oilers are willing to invest first-round selections. That probably isn’t a factor this season, but suggests there’s a significant pull toward Tre Kronor. By the way, Corey Pronman told me today the Oilers must sign Gustafsson or lose him this weekend.
TOP PLAYERS FROM SWEDEN, 2014 DRAFT
- L William Nylander—Pronman: Probably the most skilled player available in the draft.
- R Kevin Fiala—Described as a game breaker, he’s a quality prospect.
- L Jakub Vrana—Has a complete skill set, only question is how much will he score?
- R David Pastrnak—He’s a first-shot scorer with speed and skill. Outstanding prospect.
- L Adrian Kempe—Skill winger with size and a nice range of skills. Determined player.
- R Anton Karlsson—Big, strong forward with speed and skill. Enigma. 1st rder on talent alone.
- D Marcus Pettersson—Tall, rail thin blueliner shows two-way ability. Needs a burger.
- L Leon Bristedt—Remarkable offensive prospect, small and one assumes hunchback since no one talks about him.
- D Julius Bergman—Impressive defenseman with size and a nice range of skills.
- D William Lagesson—Has NHL size and some impressive boxcars.
- D Sebastian Aho—Undersized, puck moving defenseman. Fascinating prospect.
- R Oscar Lindbolm—Powerful two-way winger with some range of skills.
- G Jonas Johansson—Big goalie with a bunch of nice save percentages. .914 in 4 SHL games.
- G Linus Soderstrom—Another big goalie, and more nice save percentages.
- D Emil Johansson—Traditional two-way defender, can move the puck well, average size.
- D Adam Ollas Mattsson—Monster Swedish defenseman, has fallen down rankings since September.
- D Lawrence Pilut—Another undersized skill defenseman.
- D Andreas Englund—Big, strong and mobile defender.
- R Lucas Wallmark—Impressive skill, average speed. He was also eligible a year ago.
- D Gustav Forsling—Mid June birthday, posted nice numbers.
- D Andreas Soderberg—Monster on blue.
Sweden is killing it these years. I like any of the top five, but they’ll be long gone before Oilers get a chance to select their second player. I also like the sounds of Bristedt, Bergman, Lagesson, Aho, Lindholm and the goalies. Sweden: You’re the new Finland for Oiler fans!