Top 25 Under 25, #20: Marcus Hogberg
Marcus Hogberg is on the rise, up five spots from last year to number 20 on this year's list.
Marcus Hogberg was drafted in the third round of 2013 NHL entry draft. It seemed obvious at the time why the Senators would go after him -- he was Swedish, 6'5", and 212 lbs. He sounded a lot like Robin Lehner. It's always a good idea to keep the goalie prospect pool full, and he had a lot of potential. Hogberg had mostly played for the Linköping HC J20 team before being drafted, but had found his way into three games in the SHL, impressive for a player just about to enter the draft.
Last year was a very impressive year for Hogberg. He started half of his team's 55 games, putting up solid GAA (2.30) and save percentage (.917) numbers. He was even better in the Champions League, putting up 1.65 and .935 in six games. He looks destined to become the undisputed starter for Linköping next year.
With Matt O'Connor assured as the goaltender of the present in Binghamton, and with Chris Driedger looking like a solid AHL backup, there was no reason for Hogberg to cross the Atlantic. The merits of the SHL versus the AHL can be debated, but any goaltender prospect who gets to be his team's number one against adults is likely getting suitable development.
When comparing Hogberg to O'Connor, two things are important to remember: experience, and age. For all of O'Connor's dominant numbers, he earned them playing college hockey, against players his age or younger. Hogberg meanwhile has played much of his young career in the SHL, already taking on players much older than him. Additionally, O'Connor is nearly three full years older than Hogberg. It seems unfair to evaluate them head-to-head, when three years of development could make a large difference.
It remains to be seen what happens with Hogberg and the Sens. The Senators aren't desperate for immediate help in goal in Ottawa or Binghamton. He's young, he's big, and he's getting quality minutes. I wouldn't be surprised to see him much higher in these rankings in a couple years.