Round 5 — D David Bernhardt (Djugardens IF U20, SuperElit)
Ranked #17 by NHL Central Scouting (European skaters)
Vancouver currently doesn’t own a fifth-round pick, but this guy could be drafted literally anywhere come June. David Bernhardt is a player who could, though might not, rise far up the rankings as we near the draft. A 6-foot-2, 192-pound defenceman from Sweden, Bernhardt is the top-scoring blueliner in the SuperElit, Sweden’s top junior league. His 32 points in 36 games rank 20th among all skaters.
Bernhardt was on no one’s radar for most of the season and did not make TSN Craig Button’s top-100 ranking in November, but suddenly jumped up to No. 17 on NHL Central Scouting’s list. The reason is simple: Bernhardt has terrific size for a defenceman, scores like there is no tomorrow, but struggles with consistency and his defensive game.
The Swede skates well for his size and plays nice passes, and also possesses a dangerous shot. However, he does struggle in the defensive zone and is not nearly as physical as you would hope for a player of his size. That does not mean he cannot develop that side of his game, though.
If Bernhardt can improve his defensive game and perform consistently, he could turn into a poor man’s Erik Karlsson. Who knows, maybe he could even be an actual Erik Karlsson type and become a huge steal in this draft. No pressure, bud.
Also, let me warn you, his draft range is big. High risk, high reward, if picked as early as the second round. The next few months will be extremely interesting for Bernhardt.
Potential: Top-Four Defenceman
Draft Range: 50-150
Next: Round 6