The 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs have come to a conclusion, and the 2013 NHL Entry Draft is less than one week away. Let the offseason commence.
In five days, Garth Snow will be working with a non-lottery pick in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft for the first time during his tenure as New York Islanders’ General Manager. The Islanders are slotted to pick 15th on Draft Day, which also marks the first time the Islanders will be selecting outside of the top ten since they drafted Ryan O’Marra 15th-overall in 2005.
Finally, and what makes it even better is the fact that this year’s draft class runs deep, so the Islanders should have a surplus of highly touted prospects to choose from when it’s their turn to add to the organization’s already deep prospect pool. Long Island’s hockey team will be adding a piece that should, in theory, improve an already talented team in a few seasons.
With the days until the draft winding down, Eyes on Isles brings its “Picking Prospects” over to Sweden, where Alexander Wennberg is making some noise as one of the top European skaters in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.
Alexander Wennberg, C, Djugarden, Sweden-2
46 GP, 14 G, 18 A, 32 Pts, +10
Alexander Wennberg, the 5th-ranked European skater in this year’s NHL Draft, plays a complete brand of hockey. Powered by a tremendous compete level, Wennberg is an effective player in all three zones of the ice. The young Swede is a cerebral player with good offensive instincts and sound defensive positioning.
In the offensive zone, Wennberg is often noted for his patience with the puck. His ability to read plays allows him to wait for the perfect opportunity to create a scoring chance. “Creatve” has been a word used to describe Wennberg’s playmaking abilities, as the 19-year-old finds unusual ways, aided by his phenomenal vision, to be effective from anywhere on the ice.
Opposing teams must also respect Wenberg’s scoring ability. Although he’s not a snipr, Wennberg has the ability to read plays and adapt to all situations. He’s an excellent stick-handler and extremely deceptive on his skates. In a situation where Wennberg may run out of passing space, the Swedish prospect could shift gears and roof a shot from a bad angle.
Wennberg’s attitude and effort has also received high praise from scouts around the NHL.
Why does Wennberg fit with the Islanders?
Out with the old Swede, in with the new, David Ullstrom bolted for the KHL, and Alexander Wennberg can take his place. OK, so obviously the Islanders aren’t going to draft Wennberg because they’re lacking a Swede, but both players have similarities to their games.
Like David Ullstrom, Alexander Wennberg:
- Skates extremely well
- Shows a great deal of talent in the offensive zone
- Plays with intensity and determination
- Can handle a variety of roles in all situations
If you’re saying “how can we get excited about a player that compares to someone who barely played for the Islanders in 2013,” keep in mind that there was nothing not to like about David Ullstrom, but there should be concerns of his projected upside. Is a third-line winger, something the Islanders have so many of, really going to make a difference with this hockey team? However, Wennberg, who has already played over 50 games in a top-six role in a men’s league, has an upside comparable to that of Henrik Zeterberg, a phenomenal two-way player who contributes in all three zones at an elite level.