The highest-rated player to re-enter this year’s draft, Henrik Borgstrom was first eligible to get selected by an NHL team last year, but he was passed over in all seven rounds. Will the second time be the charm?
Borgstrom has spent the past few seasons in Finnish junior leagues and hasn’t represented his country in any major international tournaments, so he’s somewhat of an unknown commodity. But, when you take a look at his numbers, he definitely has some offensive skill.
Here’s what you need to know about the big Finnish centre.
Age on June 24: 18
From: Helsinki, Finland
Current Team: HIFK U20 (Finland)
Weight: 176 pounds
Twitter account: @punanen5
NHL Central Scouting Rank (European): 9th
The definition of a project player…
At 6-foot-3, 176 pounds, Borgstrom has enticing size that NHL teams love at the centre position. And in the past two years with HIFK teams in the U18 and U20 leagues, he’s combined for 41 goals and 92 points in 61 games, so you can see some potential for offence.
But the problem here is the competition he’s faced: usually top-ranked prospects from Finland have either spent some time in the country’s top professional league, or played for the country at a major tournament, like the world juniors. But that hasn’t been the case for Borgstrom.
This is likely why he went unselected last season — don’t bet on that happening again, though.
Committed to Denver of the NCAA next season…
Making things more interesting for Borgstrom’s draft stock this time is that he signed a letter of intent to join the Denver Pioneers in 2016-17. So while we won’t see him against comparable talent until after the draft in Buffalo, NHL teams will be wanting to invest in him ahead of that.
What the pundits say…
There is so little hard info on Borgstrom because of the lack of big-stage competition he’s played (there’s nothing on Youtube for him), so instead, we’ll take a look at what some writers and talent evaluators have said about him online.
Bill Placzek, draftsite.com: “Second-year eligible Finnish centre is big slick stick-handler who needs to work to further strengthen his lower body in order to add power and speed to his skating. He has good skills and vision, but little consistency. Needs to be better away from the puck, and continue to grow his offensive side. Displays some really good dangle in his possession skills but has trouble deciding what the read is and can look bad when things go south in transition.”
Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News: “Tons of upside, some holes in skinny Denver commit.”
Marco Bombino, overtheboards.net: “Borgström has been a very notable player in each of the six games I have seen from HIFK U20 this season. He’s an entertaining player to watch because he can slow the game down and will make plays that no one could anticipate. Borgström can dangle with the puck even when there are two or three players around him. Has great hands and playmaking skills – makes timid, heady passes in the final third. Also, he has a good wrist shot with a quick release. It’s difficult to defend against him because he can and will also shoot the puck. He’s a quick thinker and anticipates a lot of plays.”