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Tobias Björnfot is a fast, hard-working two-way defender with built-in leadership

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Sweden’s U18 squad captain looks to be a great 2-way defender for anybody who picks him up.

Side note: jesus christ the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup Swedish sweater ran out of space for the Captain’s C. That’s nuts.
Hockeynews.se

Analysis:

Tobias Björnfot’s biggest selling point if you ask the analysts, is either his skating ability...or his leadership.

And it’s not an incorrect or overwrought statement either. Björnfot has been a staple of Sweden’s U16 and U18 and probably their World Junior teams next year, often wearing the “A” or “C”, and that’s a pretty high honor: Sweden’s a good squad pretty much every year at nearly every level and has a lot of good talent to drop that on.

But how do you get to be the Captain or Alternate Captain of Djurgardens IF and the Swedish junior teams? What makes the monolithic entity known as Svenska Ishockeyförbundet want to pin you as leader for the Tre Kronor?

Well, it helps if you can skate. And skate well.

Björnfot’s biggest draw from a play standpoint is his unbelievably strong skating speed and agility that’s helmed by very mature decision-making. The kid can seemingly create distance from his defenders on the point just by listing to a direction, because once he does, his incredible lateral speed and tight turn radius will force a defender to come to him. And because he’s a lot bigger in weight than most of his contemporaries, he’s happy to just accelerate right past them and get a quick shot off on the goaltender. And he’s very good at getting that surprise shot that catches goalies off-guard, able to find tight seams in defenses with a sneaky tough shot and great vision.

But that’s just his offense. Björnfot’s backward skating is just as good as going up ice, and it makes playing him a real pain in the rear because he can stand dudes up at the blueline, in the defensive zone, block a shot, or just take the puck away from the forward and then rocket back up ice, or make a smart pass to restart the rush. In the dirty areas, he’s more than happy to use that fancy footwork to grab the puck in the corner and then quickly get it to an open forward.

Where Björnfot needs some work on the other hand, is primarily in the concern of whether or not he’s going to be able to be the same 200-foot defender at the NHL level, as he’s been able to score at the SuperElit level, he’s not been great at getting his point-getting qualities to work at the higher level yet, or even much recently as a member of the U18 team. This concern appears to be the lynchpin on whether or not a guy like him is even in the conversation to drop to where the B’s could conceivably pick the guy. If he can pull it together while in a system, there’s a chance he could be more than just a slightly smaller Marc-Edouard Vlasic, but if he doesn’t..well, how many shutdown defenders do you know that can skate like Bjornfot?

Tobias Björnfot is projected, like a number of players in the late 1st, to either be picked today late into the evening, or early in the 2nd round tomorrow. Since he’s LHD, it’s pretty unlikely he’ll be picked by Boston, but if they feel as if they need a solid leader in their midst for the newest generation of Bruins, he’s definitely a tantalizing option.

Rankings:

  • #37th by The Athletic
  • #30th by HockeyProspect.com
  • #36th by Future Considerations
  • #27th by ISS Hockey
  • #19th by McKeen’s Hockey
  • #7th by NHL Central Scouting among Europeans
  • #36th by EliteProspects.com
  • #27th by TSN/McKenzie

Statistics:

Season Team League Games Played Goals Assists Points Penalty Minutes
Season Team League Games Played Goals Assists Points Penalty Minutes
2015-16 IFK Täby U16 U16 Div.1 17 10 8 18 2
IFK Täby J18 J18 Elit 28 4 6 10 4
2016-17 Djurgårdens IF J18 J18 Elit 14 5 8 13 4
Djurgårdens IF J18 J18 Allsvenskan 14 3 4 7 0
2017-18 Djurgårdens IF J20 SuperElit 42 6 16 22 8
2018-19 Djurgårdens IF J20 SuperElit 39 11 11 22 14
Djurgårdens IF SHL 7 0 0 0 2