2018 NHL draft prospect profile #28: Jonatan Berggren

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning meets with Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning meets with Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Jonatan Berggren continues as the next entry in our 2018 NHL draft prospect profile series. A bit of a project player with a lot of upside, well worth the lottery ticket at this slot.

The first round of the NHL Entry Draft is always interesting. It garners the most attention and can mean everything and anything. Selections made in the top 10 of the draft are the most important since those teams get the first crack at the best players in the draft.

As you move towards the end of the day one, probabilities of success decrease, as do expectations. Vancouver Canucks fans should understand the concept, given the team’s mixed results with their top six picks.

For example, a pick like Brock Boeser had nowhere close to the expectations set at sixth overall in 2014. The selection at fifth overall in 2016 weighed heavily on the shoulders of the young man Vancouver would select.

Alternatively, Jake Virtanen has not and will not live up to his draft position. He can become a useful player, but it will be difficult to shake that fact from him whenever he’s discussed. On the other hand, Boeser shattered everyone’s expectations early and is beloved by this city with a fervent vigour.

You see the difference between the top six and the bottom 10? It’s about expectation. Drafting a third line forward or a second pairing defencemen isn’t a bad thing in the latter range. However, it’s a devastating result near the top of the draft.

Therefore, I really like when players like Jonatan Breggren come up. He is by definition a true lottery ticket. Blessed with an incredible skill set, a team is swinging for the fences with him. There is risk, as there is with anything. But the team deep enough to take the chance could be handsomely rewarded in due time.

The stats rundown

Height: 180 cm/5’11”

Weight: 83 kg/183 lbs

Birthdate: July 16, 2000

Position: C/RW

Handedness: Left

Team (league): Skellefteå AIK J20 (SuperElit), Skellefteå AIK (SHL)





#28 by Dobber Prospects (Cam Robinson)

#32 by Craig Button 


First, you can see I am listing more than one league for a Swedish player. One reason I do that is to illustrate how well this player is compared to junior-level competition (SuperElit). However, what is truly special is the second stat line.

Zero points in 10 games seems meaningless, but there is so much more to those boxcar stats. In Sweden, few players get the chance to play in the top professional men’s league in the country. But the fortunate ones that do have a distinct advantage over some of their peers.

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They get the experience of playing against a mix of fully grown adults. As you can see with Berggren’s SuperElit numbers, he is tearing apart his age group. There was an opportunity on Skellefteå and he played professional games. Additionally, Berggren played in a pair of playoff games, collecting one assist.

Outside of the World Juniors, there are few tournaments that like to prop up draft-eligible prospects. I have already mentioned the World Junior Under-18 Championships and the Five Nations Tournament. Berggren had four points in the latter tournament, but he made a splash during the U-18’s.

Tied for third in points and goals, the Swedish forward left the event with five goals and ten points. But, wait, there’s more. In August, before most teams begin their season, there is the U-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Berggren played in that tournament as well, collecting five points in five games.

You can see his silky hands and passing in this clip (he is wearing #48):

Scouting reports

Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects

"An absolute wrecking ball of a player who has been posting tremendous numbers in the J20 circuit. Logs miles of ice as he fore checks with impunity, distributes the puck and knows how to finish as well. Terrific Hlinka and Five Nations offer scouts a glimpse of his skill on some big stages and he’s even looked capable in a 10 game stint in the SHL."

Kevin Papetti, PensionPlanPuppets

"This is one of my favourite sleepers in this draft, and you won’t see him as a first round talent on many lists. Berggren is a 5’10 forward with impressive quickness and skill. I see him as one of the better puck carriers in this draft, and he boasts incredibly impressive numbers in the SuperElit league this season. He scored five points in five games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, and even got into some games in the SHL.Berggren is one of the youngest players in this draft, and I think he could breakout given his offensive toolkit. He probably ends up on the wing rather than at centre, and i’m not completely sold on his two way game, but he could end up as a solid secondary scoring option in the NHL. He stood out as one of Sweden’s most talented forwards at the Hlinka, and his scoring numbers back that up this season. He will need to score at a solid clip to make the NHL, so this is selection is a little bit of a lottery ticket."

What we think

Jonatan Berggren shares something with a couple players in this series so far. Since we can easily access the CHL, European players can slip through the cracks in the discussion. Check out the image I used for this article. Getty Images did not have one photo of Berggren for our use.

Look around. Many services don’t view him as a first rounder, yet. Recency bias is a big influence on late season draft rankings. Berggren did himself an incredible favour by showing so well on the international stage.

I love the way Cam Robinson describes him as a wrecking ball. The finishing ability is there and best of all, he is producing when it counts. Players like Berggren specifically make me wish the Canucks had an extra first rounder, or at the very least, were willing to part with their older assets to strike twice on the first day.

The young man has youth to his advantage. He isn’t someone who is ready to step in next season, but allowing him to develop properly could pay off in a huge way. Sure, his defensive game could use work, but that’s what begins to happen as you progress through the draft. You take on players with certain warts, believing they can hone their game well past their limitations.

Next: A fair asking price for Sven Baertschi

Unfortunately, you can’t put any certainty on players taken in this part of the draft, but I don’t think that should take away from a highly skilled player. That’s the way the NHL is trending and you may as well strike while the iron is hot.