Sportsnet.ca is previewing the top 30 prospects in the 30 days leading up to the National Hockey League draft in New Jersey on June 30.
The 12th-ranked prospect in our countdown is the quick-rising, two-way Swedish forward Alexander Wennberg.
Stats: Djurgarden (Allsvenskan) | 46 GP | 14 G | 18 A | 32 P | +10 | 14 PIM
Who is Alexander Wennberg?
After missing last year’s draft by a week, Wennberg emerged as a top prospect this season and shone both in the Allsvenskan and on the international stage. He had nine points in six games at the 2012 under-18 world championship and added three points in six games at this year’s world junior tournament, helping Sweden to a silver medal. Wennberg played the majority of the season for Djurgarden’s Allsvenskan team and his 14 goals scored were second-most among junior-aged players in his league.
Alexander Wennberg’s scouting report:
Wennberg provides a presence in all three zones due to a dedicated, hard-working style. He plays well defensively, is effective along the wall and is deadly as both a passer and a shooter. His skating is sublime and he owns a separation gear that enables him to create space for himself offensively. Wennberg produced quite well in a top-six role in his first season of pro hockey, a positive sign for the offensive dimension he brings. His awareness and dedication in all three zones makes him a very reliable player in all situations.
Teams who might be interested in Alexander Wennberg:
Wennberg could be this year’s version of Hampus Lindholm, the eventual sixth-overall pick by the Anaheim Ducks in last year’s draft. Lindholm used a strong second half performance to rocket up the charts and out of obscurity and became a higher pick than most anticipated. Wennberg should be appealing to several teams given his sound, two-way game and compete level. Should he last as long as the 15th pick, where the New York Islanders are selecting, he could make a good pick for the emerging team that could use a few more forwards in their prospect cupboard.
Scout’s take: “A slick, offensive playmaker with a very good technical offensive skill set,” says Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. “He has decent size, moves very well and is extremely smooth with the puck. He has great vision and reactions in his hands and feet, which allows him to execute plays as quickly as he identifies them. He has already proven he can be a productive offensive force at the pro level, playing in Sweden’s second-highest league, the Allsvenskan. As talented as Wennberg is right now, he still has a lot of room for physical development and he should be even more dangerous as he gains strength and adds further muscle.”
“Wennberg is a very good two-way forward,” adds David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “He’s very hard on the puck and he’s always in the right position to make a play. He had a very good year playing in the Allsvenskan, the second-top Swedish league. He was also a very big part of Team Sweden’s silver-medal winning performance (at the world juniors). Wennberg has very good skating ability, good edge work, very crisp and solid balance. He has to gain a little bit of weight, but that should come with time. He’s one of those solid, two-way players that can easily play in your top six just because of his skill set and because of his ability to play well within team systems.”