Our staff had the same issue that the Senators scouting staff is going to have on draft day. There are a wealth of options available at 22nd overall — a pick obtained in the Derick Brassard deal that ended up favourably high with Pittsburgh’s earlier-than-expected playoff elimination.
As our motto is “go big or go home”, the Ottawa Senators are proud to select, with the 22nd pick of the draft, forward Jonatan Berggren from Skellefteå AIK in the SHL.
Berggren is an offensive dynamo, and has showed it both in international competitions for Sweden, and in his top domestic leagues. One of just seven forwards to play 10+ games in the SHL this year, the July-born Berggren spent much of the season tearing up Sweden’s top U20 junior league, the SuperElit. Here, he led all players in points (57) and points-per-game (1.50) and finished with 17 more points than his closest teammate.
Building off his success at the U17 World Championships last season, Berggren put up 10 points in 7 games at the U18s for his bronze-medal winning squad — finishing tied for third in tournament scoring, leading Sweden, and ranking ahead of top picks like Wahlstrom, Kotkaniemi, and Farabee. His 29 shots on goal tied with teammate Boqvist, and was just behind Wahlstrom, Farabee, and Finland’s Niklas Nordgren.
What makes him so productive? He’s extremely smart, is an elusive skater, and relies on his vision to consistently generate dangerous scoring opportunities for himself and his linemates.
Here are some scouting reports, with emphasis added by me in bold:
June 2018 – One of the draft’s biggest risers this season, Berggren is a player that is easily loved. His feet are always moving. He’s pushing play in the right direction. He owns tremendous puck-skills, high-end vision and isn’t afraid to unleash a heavy shot. The 17-year-old had an amazing season in the Swedish J20 circuit, leading that league in points with 57 in 38 contests. He looked confident in a bottom six role during his 12-game SHL stint but saved his best work for the international stage. The powerful skating forward had a strong start to his year at the Ivan Hlinka where he scored three goals and five points in five games on route to a bronze medal. He followed that up with a goal and four points at the Five Nation’s tournament. Finally, he concluded his season with a beastly performance at the U18 World Championships. There he led Sweden in scoring with five goals and 10 points in seven tournament games to lead the Swedes to a bronze medal. He was a buzz-saw player and drew attention during all situations. He’s the type of player that coaches, teammates, and fans will love. Cam Robinson — Dobber Prospects
Berggren has been a favorite of mine whenever I’ve watched him this season in Sweden or international play. He put up fantastic numbers in Sweden’s top junior circuit. He’s not a big guy or a player with elite skill, but he makes a difference every game. As the season went on with Sweden’s U18 team his role continued to grow until he was eventually their top forward. His skating is good as he often shows the ability to beat defenders wide with speed and can change speeds very well. His hands are also impressive. You’d like to see a little more creativity from a forward his size who will make his living scoring, but he can make defenders miss. I like his vision a lot. He’s always looking to make a play and seems to have eyes in the back of his head. What I also like about his game is the pace he plays with. He’s always attacking, hitting the zone with speed and doesn’t make plays from a standstill. He shows good shiftiness on his edges trying to create space for his vision. Berggren also has the hustle you like to see in a smaller player and can play on both special teams. Corey Pronman - The Athletic ($)
Generally ranked in the 20s and 30s by most scouting services, broadcast partners, and bloggers, there’s a high chance that Berggren will be available at 22 for the Senators. Some see an undersized forward who won’t be able to make the same kind of plays on a smaller ice surface. I see a player who’s put up historically-great production and could be the top forward from Sweden in the draft.