It’s an Edmonton Oilers 2018 draft prospect profile on Finnish right-winger Niklas Nordgren. Will the Oilers have a shot at drafting him?
This weekend we will find out the draft order for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in Dallas. The Edmonton Oilers have a 15% chance of jumping up into the top three from number nine and a 5% chance at selecting Swedish wonder-kid Rasmus Dahlin.
I don’t want to focus on the apparent prospects for this post though. I’m interested in a player who the Oilers could potentially select in the second round or if they’re fortunate in the 3rd round.
His name is Niklas Nordgren. His club is HIFK. He is a right-winger.
Don’t mistake him for the Swedish player with the same name though.
Nordgen shoots right. He stands 5’7″ and weighs 170lbs according to Dobber’s Prospects. And Steve Kournianos says the stocky Finn is an excellent player. Strong on his skates, quick bursts to gain some separation and gets involved physically. Low center of gravity and keeps puck close, so it’s hard to strip him.
This past season Niklas Nordgren has 42 pts in 28 games playing for HIFK’s U20 team in Finland. He also had three assists in 15 games for HIFK in Finland’s SM-Liiga.
At the moment Nordgen is tearing up the u18 World Championships in Russia. He has six goals and 8pts through 4 games playing on a line with Jesperi Kotkaniemi (consensus 1st round pick this year) and Kaapo Kakko (2019 draft eligible. Keep an eye out for this guy, he might be the next Teemu Selanne).
Obviously, I’m not in Finland to scout this player personally, and so I’m left with the almighty YouTube to view him, but from what I’ve seen, this is a very crafty player with a laser of a wrist shot. He works his butt off, and there doesn’t seem to be any quit or fear in his game.
If we compared him to current Oilers top prospect Kailer Yamamoto, Nordgren beats him on work ethic, grit, and shot. Whereas, Yamamoto is more dynamic, creative, and a better skater.
I think that he’s got potential to be a player similar to the Chicago Blackhawks’ Alex Debrincat. Short and stocky but very smart and knows where to go to score the goals.
Here are some more scouting reports for Nordgren.
Nordgren is a player with really high work ethic. He battles and checks constantly and he comes to help defense immediately when needes. He positions well at the own end and made couple of crucial blocks. His assets should make him reliable option in every situation. (source)
A very smart player, Nordgren has really good puck handling skills as he controls the puck well in tight spaces. Moreover, his speed and skating have improved and he works hard away from the puck, getting quickly back defensively. He’s not afraid to compete in front of the net and has good hand-eye coordination. (source)
Nordgren is a very talented offensive winger who works hard and understands his defensive responsibilities so that he’s not a liability defensively. He seems to be more of a playmaker than a goal-scorer but also has an excellent wrist shot. Nordgren has very soft hands and great vision but the one thing holding him back is skating which is especially worrisome for a small player like him. If he can improve his skating or find other ways to produce offensively at higher levels, he could be a gamble that pays off big time (source)
Niklas Nordgren might be the most undervalued guy relative to his ranking in the draft. Small, but a powerful skater who is great around the net. Produced a boatload in the Finnish U20 league and landed a hat trick in the Champions Hockey League. (source)
I feel like the Oilers need to keep upgrading the RW through the draft. Having Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto isn’t enough right now, and if they could add Nordgren in the draft this year, they could be adding quite the sniper. And since small is in, this is the perfect time to use a draft pick on the little guy.