clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nils Höglander punches well above his paygrade, and that got him on the Bruins radar.

New, comments

Small only in stature, Höglander’s unstoppable work ethic made him a guy Boston was visibly scouting this year. Could he fall to the B’s?

Analysis:

Don’t let the size fool you. Or surprise you at this point. One of the most instrumental players to the Bruins this year was almost Nils’ exact dimensions. The difference being that guy was a defender, and Höglander is a forward.

And in the SHL, there was almost nobody who would fight for the puck harder or was harder to pin down this year than the Högman himself. Höglander for the record, is pronounced “Huglander”, which either makes it way less funny, or way funnier depending on how you look at it.

Höglander got on the radar early as rumors swirled that the Bruins were aggressively scouting this young man in Sweden around the time the World Juniors were gearing up. Why bring this up? Because it was conspicuous. Generally speaking, the B’s have kept an aggressive yet very low profile on the other side of the pond, and for him to be generating that much attention that far out from the draft was something. Regrettably, Nils didn’t make the cut for the team, and that appeared to make swedish fans very unhappy. And watching him do things...it’s kind of hard not to see why.

Nils plays like a man possessed. And given how small he is and how possession in horror movies works, you’d be forgiven for thinking the kid cannot be stopped. Höglander plays like a guy who knows his coaches are much older, and believe the conventional wisdom of hockey a lot harder than he does, and so has to do so much more to keep his position. Doubly so in Sweden, where if you’re good enough, you’ll be in a weird spot where you’re too good to play in the U20 squad, but playing less than 13 minutes a night begging to get into the double digits in the mainline Swedish Hockey League against men twice your age and experience level.

As a result, Nils Hoglander plays like someone who absolutely cannot and will not return to Rögle’s youth program.

While yes, his actual point total isn’t impressive in a vacuum, it’s important to remind yourself that even in Sweden, he’s both young and smaller, so he’s picked up the fun habit of playing at the speed of light while right up in front of a defender, but having the skating acumen to get around and also shoot while directly in their faces, and for having a nose for the net that cannot be guided away. It helps that his hands are frantic yet smooth, always trying to make the defender bite first to get a good clean redirect or shot off.

Really, if there’s any problems in his game, it’s that some of the stuff he’s gotten away comes from the fact he plays in the SHL where a little guy like him isn’t expecting to get run over every other play. His fiestyness will be a huge boon over in North America, but it is something he’ll have to get used to.

The other problem is...well...the stigma of being small is well on it’s way out. Not entirely gone, mind you. But he’s gotten a lot of positive press, and as a result his cieling for being picked goes from late first to mid first quickly.

But there appears to be a deep feeling that, if he’s around, the Bruins will take this kid. We can never truly know? But with how they’ve kept tabs on him...

...It’s hard not to say no to a good Hög.

...Yeah I know, I know.

Rankings by the experts:

  • #23rd by HockeyProspect.com
  • #29th by Future Considerations
  • #41st by McKeen’s Hockey
  • #11th by Central Scouting among European Skaters
  • #19th by EliteProspects.com
  • #29th by TSN/McKenzie

Statistics:

Season Team League Games Played Goals Assists Points Penalty Minutes
Season Team League Games Played Goals Assists Points Penalty Minutes
2014-15 Clemensnäs HC J18 Junior-18 Elit 35 8 11 19 26
2015-16 Timrå IK U16 U16 SM 8 10 6 16 4
Timrå IK J18 J18 Elit 16 3 5 8 12
2016-17 AIK J18 J18 Elit 10 4 2 6 43
AIK J20 SuperElit 12 2 1 3 18
AIK Allsvenskan 24 5 3 8 18
2017-18 AIK J20 SuperElit 22 14 8 22 53
AIK Allsvenskan 34 3 4 7 6
2018-19 Rögle BK SHL 50 7 7 14 22