If you were to read some of the adjectives used in many of the scouting reports to describe Swedish-born defenceman, Timothy Liljegren, you would initially think that he is in fact the next great Swedish blue-liner ready to take the NHL by storm. Heck, the kid is drawing comparisons to Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson by some, mainly in regards to him being a Swedish offensive-defenceman rather than overall talent level. But in all fairness, Liljegren possesses many qualities that justify his top ten draft ranking and it’s hard to imagine that the Red Wings haven’t already done their due diligence on him.
Name: Timothy Liljegren
Date of birth: 4/30/99
Birthplace: Kristianshad, SWE
NHL comparable: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
ISS Hockey: #8
McKeen’s Hockey: #8
Future Considerations: #7
NHL CSS: #6 (European Skaters)
Before battling and subsequently never statistically overcoming a case of mononucleosis last season in Sweden, Timothy Liljegren found himself ranked much higher on several expert’s lists before falling down a few spots in the top ten. I’ve personally never had mono, but I can only imagine that it’s something not easily rebounded from, so you can’t really knock or fault Liljegren for his recent pre-draft stock drop.
As I mentioned earlier, selecting Liljegren would look like a no-brainer if you were to read any of his numerous scouting descriptions. It’s not as if flashy, fast, puck-moving, offensive defenders are falling off of trees these days, well, perhaps in Sweden they are. Liljegren demonstrates many of the raw, yet desired, qualities you would want in a modern-day defender, qualities that the Detroit Red Wings are currently lacking on their back-end.
But it’s important to remember, like many of the players in this year’s draft class, Timothy Liljegren is still very much a project player. If you’re expecting him to come over to North America and become Detroit’s next Swedish-superstar, I would advise taking a few (or less) of Mickey Redmond’s patented Ginger Ales.
Liljegren’s style of play can be creative and exciting, but it can also lead to turnovers and blunderous moments, something Red Wings fans have seen their fair share of on the blue-line since Nicklas Lidstrom retired. Luckily for Liljegren these are errors that can be mended and ultimately unlearned through time and maturity.
Timothy Liljegren is a player that the Red Wings may have a hard time passing on if he still available when the team makes their ninth overall selection. We know Detroit loves their Swedes and some might say that they are the ones actually running the show in Hockeytown, and adding a player like Liljegren may be a mutually beneficial move for both player and team.
Video courtesy of NHL Prospects
If the Red Wings don’t take a page out of the “Moneyball” script and do indeed decide to keep the ninth onverall pick, Timothy Liljegren wouldn't be a terrible option if he were still available. Detroit has some promising young blue-liners in their pipeline already (Vili Saarijarvi, Filip Hronek, Jordan Sambrook) and adding one more wouldn’t hurt. Most mock drafts I’ve seen have Liljegren going to the Buffalo Sabres at number eight, right before the Red Wings make their selection. Having Liljegren on a fellow Atlantic Division team could be something that unfortunately haunts Detroit down the road, or maybe it doesn't.