Sweden’s sending an incredible crop of blueliners to the NHL these days.
And one player that previously nobody knew anything about, being barely ranked and being kind of an afterthought amongst prospects until he suddenly showed up on the roster of Luleå HF in...well...Luleå, Sweden. Sverige, if you speak Swedish. Then things got interesting.
Lundvist is a 6’0, 195 lb. right-shot defender with a willingness to join the play, good skating work, a strong, accurate pass to set up scoring chances, and a strong sense of what’s going on around him, both with and without the puck. This got him on the U18 Sweden national team, as noticed here where he helped open the scoring with a primary assist:
...and playing on the mainline Luleå squad, where he played 28 games, and had 5 points. He had this, mind you, as a 17 year old playing in the SHL, where Rasmus Dahlin and Adam Boqvist are playing. Lundkvist joined the team to hit the ground running as Luleå’s puck moving defender and outlet passer, which impressed scouts due to the team’s trust in him being justly rewarded, but that he seemed so comfortable while doing it:
Look at this pass from the same guy, #2018NHLDraft eligible D-man Nils Lundkvist (#3 in yellow) pic.twitter.com/wyLshmeCWr— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) February 12, 2018
That’s a pretty grown up pass for such a young guy.
Of course, when you’re 17, you’re still gonna end up needing some work. And Lundkvist is no exception. Being 6’0 and a little under 200 lbs, he’s gonna need to do some bulking up if he wants to get into the NHL. Another for Lundkvist is consistency in the back-end or in transition, as while he moves pretty well in his own end and can create/erase space with smart positioning, he sometimes overcompensates. Another is that while Lundqvist is a mobile defender with a great ability to move the puck around, he isn’t one of the best shooters of his compatriots, feeling more at home creating opportunities for his teammates than creating opportunities for himself.
Lundkvist is likely a defender set for the 2nd round, and will likely find himself getting called far before Boston has an opportunity, but if he ends up showing up where the Bruins can get him? He’d be a great addition to the team’s defensive depth.
Heck, there are some who think that he could end up better than Adam Boqvist with patience and development!
Wouldn’t that be something?
Ranked #14 by NHL Central Scouting among european skaters
Ranked #19 by HockeyProspect.com
Ranked #35 by FutureConsiderations
Ranked #27 by McKeen’s Hockey
Nils Lundqvist Statline
|2015-16||Luleå HF U16||U16 SM||3||1||0||1|
|Luleå HF J18||J18 Elit||15||2||7||9|
|Luleå HF J18||J18 Elit||12||0||0||0|
|2016-17||Luleå HF J18||J18 Allsvenskan||21||4||15||19|
|Luleå HF J18||J18 Elit||13||5||3||8|
|Luleå HF J20||SuperElit||8||0||2||2|
|2017-18||Luleå HF J20||SuperElit||26||3||11||14|