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Ottawa Senators 2021 Draft Profiles: Simon Edvinsson & Carson Lambos

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After three sets of profiles focused on the forwards, we turn our attention to defencemen who might be available for the Senators in the first-round.

Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks
These two rangy blueliners remind me a bit of Dallas’ John Klingberg
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When Colin Cudmore and I started our 2021 Draft Coverage on Silver Seven back in December 2020, there were five defencemen listed among the draft’s top 10 players based on consensus rankings at the time. It was a stark contrast from the 2020 class we had just covered, where Jamie Drysdale and later, Jake Sanderson, were the only two defenders who differentiated themselves from the rest of the pack. That played out on draft day, where Sanderson and Drysdale were drafted back-to-back at fifth and sixth overall, and the next defender wasn’t selected until 16th.

In this year’s class, four of the five have maintained their top-10 status: Owen Power, Brandt Clarke, Luke Hughes, and Simon Edvinsson. The last of the group, Carson Lambos, was ranked higher than Hughes and Edvinsson in the fall, but ran into health issues while playing in Finland this year, and is now ranked in the middle of the first round. Let’s learn more about the two players in this group that have the best likelihood at being available to Ottawa at 10th overall.


Simon Edvinsson

Pos Team League Height Weight Date of Birth EliteProspects Consolidated Ranking
Pos Team League Height Weight Date of Birth EliteProspects Consolidated Ranking
LD Frölunda SHL 6'5" 207 lbs 02/05/2003 #7

Background

Having played for four different junior systems before making his way to a premier program in Frölunda, Simon Edvinsson has had an atypical journey for a top Swedish defenceman. In 2018-19, he teamed up with Fabian Lysell on Göteborg’s squad for the TV-Pucken tournament and was named Best Defenceman for the tournament winners — putting him in good company with Rasmus Dahlin, Tobias Bjornföt, Adam Larsson, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. His offence really started to shine that season, as he recorded 36 points across 24 games at the U16 level before earning a promotion to Frölunda’s U18 team, where he spent most of the next year. He got his first taste of high-level international action at the U17s, scoring five points in five games as Sweden bowed out in the quarterfinals.

Edvinsson suited up for four different clubs in 2020-21 — a busy schedule that isn’t completely out of the norm for an elite Swedish prospect, but one that stands out given the impact of COVID-19 on this past year of player development. Edvinsson started at the U20 level, recording six points in 13 games over the first two months of the season until a COVID-19 outbreak necessitated cancellations. He played 10 games at the SHL level during November to January, only seeing 5:48 of ice-time per game before he was loaned to Västerås in the Allsvenskan to receive more minutes. He finished the season there, recording five assists in 14 regular season games across 13:48 per night and an additional three points in six playoff games. Västerås’ season ended just around the time of the World U18s, where Edvinsson co-led Swedish blueliners in scoring with four points (and probably could’ve had a couple more) in seven games while playing top minutes for the Bronze-medal winning squad.

Scouting Report

Scott Wheeler’s profile on Edvinsson in The Athletic is well worth the read if you have a subscription. In it, there’s a quote from ex-first-round pick and current Frölunda GM, Fredrik Sjöstrom, that stands out:

“He’s got some unique qualities, that’s for sure,” Sjöstrom said, chuckling. “A big guy like that who is really effortless on the ice, a smooth skater who is very mobile, and he’s got a great reach with his long limbs and his long stick. He can really close the gap and has great gap control. Even on the big ice, he trusts his skating and he can close opponents out. That’s a special talent that he has. And then for being that big, he’s got a lot of skill in his hands and good vision. He’s a very special player.”

Affectionately labelled as the draft’s unicorn, Edvinsson features a 6-foot-4 frame, some of the best hands in the class as a defenceman, an explosive first step, and evasive edgework that makes him a deceptive puck rusher. Edvinsson has shared that he’s spent a lot of time developing his hands over the last four seasons because he wanted to build a game that defies expectations for a defender of his size. Defensively, he’s got a strong core that allows him to step up on players physically and the skating profile to close gaps while defending the rush. Raw and aggressive are two terms thrown around a lot with Edvinsson, in addition to the negatively-spun erratic. What scouts are referring to is his fearlessness when leading the rush or stymieing opponents, which can understandably also lead to some big whiffs that stick in people’s memories when he’s beat. Whether it’s through pinching or activating off the point in the offensive zone, or through a well-timed punch of physicality or poke check in the defensive zone, Edvinsson is going to go for the play.

What makes Edvinsson special is also what leads to a lot of caution about his game, where he joins Kent Johnson as a player with an intriguing physical skillset and a lot of flash but questions about whether that’ll drive results at the NHL level. Edvinsson named that he’s spending this offseason working on his shot, as he often gets himself into prime scoring opportunities but either can’t finish himself with his shot’s current profile or he isn’t able to find his teammates with a pass. I’m generally a fan of players who showcase this kind of play at Edvinsson’s age because quite frankly, most don’t have the ability to even attempt things like Edvinsson does and I’d much rather teach him how to use his skills more effectively than to try and help players learn something brand new. To me, of bigger concern are the reports that Edvinsson’s not always the most adaptable player on the ice — he’s moreso the type that decides on a play and goes to execute it as opposed to one who can read and react to what’s in front of him. This can lead to poor puck decisions, such as holding onto the biscuit for too long or turning it over too often when a higher percentage play was readily available. He’s a machine when he’s breaking out the puck with his feet, but will have to be able to simplify and move it with his passing and decision-making when the neutral zone gets extra clogged at the NHL level.

Data

There isn’t much data to work with for Edvinsson other than what I already cited in the background section of this profile, though Mitch Brown and Lassi Alanen’s tracking data of Edvinsson’s seven games at the U18s bears mentioning. I was pleasantly surprised to see him rank among the tournament leaders in xA1/60, measuring the likelihood of a player’s shot assists resulting in a goal and his possession metrics in transition, even if he was more turnover prone than the top defenceman in the class, Canada’s Brandt Clarke. However, while Clarke showcased stronger in-zone defensive skills, Edvinsson performed much better when defending the rush.

Fit with Ottawa

When I hear Dorion and co. muse about having the luxury to take a calculated risk on a home-run type player with their first-round pick, a player like Edvinsson immediately jumps to mind. It bears mentioning that most players drafted at 10th overall usually don’t make their NHL debut until two or three years after their draft, a marked difference than where the team was last year when selecting Stützle, and Edvinsson’s game is all about projecting his future given his physical tools.

Neither Thomas Chabot, Jake Sanderson, or Erik Brännström have the profile of Edvinsson, who seems like a blend of Chabot’s puck-carrying and Sanderson’s rush defence without Brännström’s sense for the game. Determining whether he can develop that sense will be key because if he does, he becomes an intriguing piece for the team to add to a deep left-side that can also facilitate a trade from an area of strength for the organization. Based on comments from Frölunda, the expectation is that Edvinsson will see SHL minutes next season.

Further reading, watching, and listening


Carson Lambos

Pos Team League Height Weight Date of Birth EliteProspects Consolidated Ranking
Pos Team League Height Weight Date of Birth EliteProspects Consolidated Ranking
LD JYP Liiga 6'1" 201 lbs 01/14/2003 #17

Background

The second overall pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, Winnipeg’s Carson Lambos has been among the top players in his age group for quite some time. He finished the 2019-20 season as the WHL’s clear top draft-eligible defenceman, scoring 32 points in 57 games for a 0.56 points-per-game rate that puts him in great company — 10th among draft-1 defenders in since 2004-05. That’s just behind names like Ryan Pulock, Jake Bean, Tyson Barrie, Ryan Murray, Kale Clague, Stefan Elliott, and Jusso Välimäki but ahead of names like Josh Morrissey, Griffin Reinhart, Calen Addison, Shea Theodore, Cal Foote, and Jared Spurgeon. After five points in five games at the U17s, Lambos was named to the tournament’s all-star team, showcasing good international pedigree for a player his age.

This past season, Lambos was left searching for a new team given delay in starting the WHL season. He settled on JYP in Finland, starting with two games at the U18 level before spending a majority of the time (13 games) with the U20 squad — scoring 11 points. He finished the season with two games with the team’s Liiga squad before returning to Winnipeg for the WHL bubble, but had a gruesome leg injury two games in. The official report states:

“Winnipeg ICE defenceman Carson Lambos has left the Regina Hub and returned to Winnipeg for a medical procedure,” the ICE wrote in a prepared statement shared on March 17. “Carson is expected to make a full recovery. More information will be provided at a later date.”

While we’re limited with public information, there were ripples across the scouting world, with uncertainty popping up in every profile I’ve read on Lambos since. I expect every team to run a medical check on Lambos before drafting him, but I can’t think of a potential first-round pick that has lost more than him this season.

Scouting Report

Lambos boasts an enticing two-way package among the draft’s top blueliners. The terms hard to play against and dominant physically show up a lot in his profiles, and aren’t often used to describe players who can score like Lambos has. His offensive game profiles as the near opposite to Edvinsson’s: simple, but effective in driving results. Like the Swede, he’s able to rely on his edgework to escape pressure and activate from the point in the offensive zone. That’s where the similarities end, though. In the offensive zone, he’s more adept at using his shot — either to put a puck on net or for a fake — and can be a dual-threat from the point. In the defensive zone, he relies on reading the game and making a strong first pass or utilizing his sense in transition to beat layers of pressure. He doesn’t have a dynamic quality of his game, but looks to feature in all-situations thanks to his athleticism and ability to keep up with the pace of the game.

Many scouting reports I read expected him to score more in the weaker Finnish leagues, and started to doubt whether he’ll be able to impact offence at the next level. He wasn’t consistent in being proactive or with his o-zone activations and he could leave more dangerous passes on the board in favour of a point shot. Some questioned his consistency defensively, noting that he can “turn off” and sometimes throw away possession under pressure. However, I don’t want to underestimate just how much of a transition it is to go from his hometown of Winnipeg to Finland, even if the weather might be remarkably similar, because the ice surface, language, and three sets of teammates could’ve certainly contributed to some of the weaknesses I read about.

Data

We’ve cited Lassi Alanen’s data on Finland’s U20 leagues before, and it’s the best source of information on Lambos. He took a ton of shots — around 10 per 60 minutes — but generated the fewest shot assists among defenders in the dataset, corroborating questions as to how effective his passing will be, especially at advanced levels where defenders aren’t looked at to be a shooting threat. Around 55% of Lambos’ zone exits were with control in the seven games tracked, a solid mark, and he showed well when looking at both transition volume and efficacy. On defence, Lambos was the best defender in the dataset at preventing controlled entries against — only 25% of attempts were successful at doing so with control — and he was adept at breaking up plays in the defensive zone to prevent scoring chances.

Fit with Ottawa

As is the case with Edvinsson, Lambos would add another left-shot blueliner to the mix. Health concerns aside, he’ll likely need two strong WHL seasons to make up for the lost development time before heading to the AHL, meaning that he’ll likely impact your NHL squad in four seasons from now. Senators fans should be well-versed with how much turnover can happen in that period of time.

If it all works out with Lambos, he profiles as a second-pair defenceman who can impact both special teams and be a positive contributor in the neutral zone at five-on-five — a valuable piece. If it doesn’t, he’s likely a bottom-pair defender who can at least be a plus on defence; a profile that would be a disappointment at 10th overall, but less so if the team trades down to the final third of the first-round.

Further reading, watching, and listening


Are you intrigued by either of these two defencemen? Are you very against taking another left-shot blueliner? Share your perspective in the comments!