Prospect Profile: Nils Höglander

Photo Retrieved from AIKIF.SE

Name: Nils Höglander

Team: Rögle BK (SHL)

Position: Left Wing

Date of Birth: December 20, 2000

Hometown: Bockträsk, Sweden

Height/Weight: 5’9″, 185 lbs

Handedness: Left

*Eligible for 2019 NHL Draft*


Areas of Strength:

  • Skating
  • Puck Skills
  • Work Ethic

Areas of Weakness:

  • Size

Scouting Report: At just 18 years old, Höglander’s career in hockey is just beginning, but he already has a professional resume spanning several years. Two years ago, in 2016-17, Nils Höglander made his debut against men in the Allsvenskan, the second-best professional league in Sweden. At just 16 years old, he would proceed to play a total of 24 games. The next year, he would play an additional 10, ending the year with 34 Allsvenskan games to go along with 22 points in 22 SuperElit contests.

This season, Höglander made the jump to Sweden’s top professional circuit, the SHL. Historically, players from the Swedish Hockey League to score at a pace of 0.09 points per game in their draft season have gone on to play 200+ NHL games 51% of the time, a fact commonly referred to as the “51% Rule”. Höglander dwarves that benchmark, currently putting up points at a pace of 0.35 per game.

Höglander is a slick offensive forward with outstanding feet and remarkable skill on the puck. He’s able to accelerate to top speed in an instant, a skill that serves Höglander well as he wins races all over the ice. He plays with aggression, pace, and tenacity, especially on the forecheck.

At 5’9″, Höglander is undersized, but you’d think he’s well over 6 feet from watching him. Höglander is constantly buzzing around the net, providing a screen and a constant nuisance for the defenders. Weighing in at 185 pounds, Höglander isn’t nearly as slight as you would expect from a player his height. Höglander has shown strength on the puck against peers his own age, and although he’s getting knocked off the puck more often against larger players in the Swedish Hockey League, it doesn’t project as a problem long term. Additionally, the Swede can throw his body around with great success. When he lines someone up, he’s just as effective of a hitter as most bigger players.

Offensively, Höglander is a constant danger. Tantalizing skill on the puck coupled with high-end speed makes him a nightmare figure for defencemen forced to face him in one-on-one scenarios, and he puts his hands to use in tight to finish off opportunities with great success. He’s able to identify open passing outlets with stunning accuracy, and can get accurate passes off before those lanes close. His shot isn’t terrifying, but it’s effective from the slot and comes off his stick in a quick and deceptive manner. Höglander is excellent at bringing the puck through the neutral zone, using his speed to beat defencemen wide and render backcheckers obsolete. He’s able to create dangerous odd-man opportunities with his feet, and possesses the skill required to make the most of them. Another, perhaps undervalued, benefit of his speed is the additional option that it presents his defencemen in transition– instead of searching for a clean, tape to tape pass to kick off the procession towards the offensive zone, the blueliners can play the puck into open space, creating a foot race for Höglander to win.

Höglander continues to sit near the end of the first round on most rankings, but he forms a likely candidate to rise as the year continues. Already, he’s beginning to attract more attention, and that should continue as Höglander’s excellent SHL campaign spans on. Additionally, Höglander could be an intriguing option to go higher at the draft than his public stock would indicate. Beyond his size, what isn’t there for teams to like? He’s fast, skilled, hard-working, and as the icing on the cake, he has a history of success in Swedish professional leagues. His professional experience would suggest that he is a relatively safe bet to reach the NHL, while his wheels and soft hands offer tremendous upside as a potential top 6 winger.

Past Seasons:

2016-17 — AIK (Allsvenskan): 24 GP – 5 G – 3 A – 8 PTS – 18 PIM

2017-18 — AIK (Allsvenskan): 34 GP – 3 G – 4 A – 7 PTS – 6 PIM

Accolades:

2018 U18 WJC — Bronze Medal

2017 U17 WHC — Gold Medal