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2017 NHL Draft Profile: Lias Andersson drawing comparisons to Red Wings captain

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Sweden v Russia - Bronze Medal Game - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Lias Andersson is a Swedish forward who played with HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) this past season, scoring 9 goals and 10 assists in 42 regular season games. Despite the lack of gaudy numbers, his is drawing some very interesting comparisons and could end up being one of the steals of the 2017 NHL Draft.

Player vitals

Name: Lias Andersson

Position: C/LW

Date of birth: 13 October, 1998

Birthplace: Smogen, Sweden

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 198 lbs

NHL comparable: Henrik Zetterberg

Rankings

ISS Hockey: #29

McKeen’s Hockey: #15

Future Considerations: #13

NHL CSS: #3 (European Skaters)

Player analysis

Here is what Future Considerations had to say about him back in 2016:

“A smart, mature, two-way center…good decision-making, leadership qualities and advanced understanding of the game…a true three-zone player…defensively responsible…will drop to block shots or get his body in passing lanes…dangerous forechecker who reads the defense and uses an active stick to disrupt…covers up the ice for his teammates on the backcheck and always gives an honest effort…doesn't commit a lot of mistakes and plays a very calm game while in puck possession…has solid offensive instincts…protects the puck very well and uses all of his frame to hold opponents off the puck…possesses a nice, quick shot release…not a flashy puck handler, but can carry it up ice and distributes it well…goes to the net and plays in traffic…has solid vision and the ability to set up his linemates…has good balance and generates healthy amounts of speed…a potential two-way guy in the Zetterberg mold.”

After watching some highlights of him, it is not hard to see a some of the Red Wings captain in him.

Highlights

Here is a really nice package put together by The Draft Analyst.

The first thing that jumps out in watching tape on this kid is his ability to finish around the net. He seems to always find open ice in the danger areas and wastes no time in using some very quick hands to bury the puck once he gets it in those areas. That high hockey IQ that allows him to read the play in the offensive zone and find the open area also makes him a quality player on the defensive end as well (something we know the Red Wings always look for in their prospects). He also plays with a little bit of tenacity and does not shy away from contact.


Right now Lias Andersson is projected as a mid first round pick in most mock drafts. While it will likely be tougher for him find the same kind of open space on the smaller North American ice surface and against bigger players, a player who can get to the net area, find the puck and finish once he gets there is becoming a very effective player in today’s NHL. While I think the #9 pick is too high to take him, if the Red Wings decide to trade back and find themselves somewhere between the 12-15 spot he could be a very good fit for the Red Wings.