Zion Nybeck is the kind of player that, if nurtured right, could end up being a Swedish DeBrincat. But like DeBrincat, there’s that whole “Height” thing that’s gonna get in the way of that. Zion Nybeck’s answer to that size issue, however, is simply to play like he’s 6’5.
It’s seems so easy, right?
Nybeck’s strengths are much like any player who’s a waterbug: He’s lightning fast, his acceleration is incredible, his hands are silky smooth and he can control a puck even while at top speed, and his decision-making matches his intense pace. It’s that speed that makes him such a pain in the rear for larger teams, who believe that, like any player his size, he’ll simply crumble under physicality.
And that’s where you’ve sprung his trap.
Nybeck is shockingly difficult to knock off the puck due to both his blazing speed, and his incredible core and lower-body strength which keeps him upright even under pressure, and invites the enemy’s attention by simply being everywhere. In passing lanes, on the wall pushing passes right past bigger players, in the corners digging out pucks, getting underneath defenders and turning a chance to turn up ice into a turnover, if there’s a puck, Nybeck is trying his damnedest to get to it. It’s this ferocious game that turned Nybeck into the SuperElit’s leading point-getter in all of Sweden, getting 66 points in 42 games. It’s even given him a leg-up on defense, in that his activity and aggression keeps players moving the puck as opposed to shooting it.
As for any issues for him, Zion Nybeck’s biggest issues also come from his enthusiastic playstyle: Because he plays so aggressively, he’s often caught using his stick in ways he shouldn’t, and that can get him into trouble. Further, his aggressive style leads him to commit to plays without a plan for what happens if the play doesn’t end with a score, a hit, or a turnover, and he can be caught flat-footed. He also has a bit of an issue with trying to get too cute with plays, attempting to force them through defenders and creating turnovers during sequences he absolutely should be able to make a much simpler play through by using his support.
Nybeck’s current rankings have him solidly in the second round, but it’s a matter of wondering where exactly Zion will go. Will he be someone that a team takes a chance on after seeing guys like Yamamoto and Debrincat succeed at the NHL level? Or will he fall even further because guys like Yamamoto or Debrincat are considered an exception and not a rule?
If you’re Boston, you have to look at a dude his size and ruthlessly aggressive play and wonder if it’s worth it, right?
29th by NHL Central Scouting among European Skaters
37th by FutureConsiderations.com
43rd by EliteProspects.com
97th by McKeen’s Hockey
|2017-18||Alvesta SK U16||U16 Division 1||4||8||4||12||6|
|Alvesta SK J20||J20 Division 1||4||5||8||13||0|
|Alvesta SK||Division 2||25||15||16||31||6|
|HV71 J18||J18 Allsvenskan||2||1||0||1||0|
|2018-19||HV71 J18||J18 Allsvenskan||11||11||7||18||6|
|2019-20||HV71 J18||J18 Elit||4||6||4||10||4|
The SCoC Draft Profiles will return on the 8th with more prospects to peruse through, where we check out some european skaters, and then one of the top ten names in the entire draft.
Stay cool, space cowboy!