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Flyers prospects at the World Junior Summer Showcase: How Swede it is

So what if this pun is overused? You’re gonna read it again and you’re gonna like it.

Heather Barry ©

On Monday we talked about our neighbors from up North and introduced this mini-series. Today it’s time to take a look at the Flyers that were on Team Sweden!

Olle Lycksell

Age: 18 (8/24/1999)
Height: 5’11
Weight: 177 lbs
Position: Left wing
Handedness: Left
Drafted: 6th round draft pick in 2017, 168th overall
Statistics: 4 games played, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 penalty minutes

Maddie: If nothing else, this tournament has made me feel validated. I’m super high on Lycksell and I feel like he hasn’t been getting enough hype. And he was impressive here, I think. And now everybody knows. So that’s neat.

Brad: He was impressive for sure. I think his skating was what stood out the most to me.

M: Yes! His edges are really great and he’s pretty quick! And it really stood out to me how he was able to use that to create space. I noticed that he tended to be the primary puck mover on his line, when they were trying to break into the zone.

B: It sure seemed that way to me as well. He was sort of like the Jake Voracek of his line, largely responsible for carrying the puck into the zone and usually setting up teammates rather than the other way around.

M: That’s a great way to put it. I think my only hangup was that I wish he would have controlled more of his entries. There were a couple of instances that I can think of where he had the space to carry the puck all the way in, but then he just sort of chipped it in, right about at the blue line. Which was a little curious.

B: Hakstol must’ve loved seeing that. Now if only he made a few more low-to-high passes, he’d be the perfect player.

M: Oh my god, Dave Hakstol was absolutely salivating watching that, I’m sure of it.

B: Oh totally.

Now, we didn’t get to see Olle’s goal in real time, and the only video of it out there is from someone who was at the game, but it looks like he’s got some pretty slick hands.

M: Not to be That Person, but I remember before the first televising Sweden game, telling you to watch him puck handle, because that’s what impressed me most about his game at dev camp. He’s so fancy. It’s delightful.

B: It’s true! You told me to watch for that and he delivered.

M: He did! And I find that really exciting. Not only is it just plain fun to watch, but it’s a late round pick flashing some top end skill, and (dare I say it?) some NHL top-six potential. He’s still young (he only turns 19 later this month), and he has some growing to do, still. But he’s likely going to be getting a larger role with his SHL squad this season, so he’ll have the space to do that. And there’s a lot of exciting potential there.

B: A chance at a larger role is exciting for sure, and maybe, just maybe, the Flyers have found themselves another late round gem from Sweden. Who knows!

M: They just might have!

I think the last thing I wanted to touch on is the purely physical side of Lycksell’s play—he’s listed at around 5’10”/5’11”, 177 lbs, depending on where you look, so he’s not exactly a big guy. And these are the players you worry about a little bit, with how they’ll match up against bigger, stronger players. And, in Lycksell’s case, this turned out to be a non-issue. Despite what was often a size disparity, we saw him remaining strong on the boards and resisting being pushed around. Which was nice to see.

B: Yeah, that’s not the type of game you usually expect from someone who’s not exactly on the taller side of the spectrum. It’s really good to see that he has that side of his game down.

M: Yeah, I don’t think we’re ever going to see him just demolishing other dudes out there, and that’s fine! I just needed to see that he can hold his own, and so far, he has.

B: Danny Briere knocked down Zdeno Chara, Olle can do anything.

M: You know what, I like the optimism, I like the faith. Olle, if you’re listening, don’t listen to the me of a few lines ago. We believe in you.

Adam Ginning

Age: 18 (1/13/2000)
Height: 6’3
Weight: 190 lbs
Position: Defense
Handedness: Left
Drafted: 2nd round draft pick in 2018, 50th overall
Statistics: 5 games played, 1 goal, 0 assists, 4 penalty minutes

Brad: Okay, I have a lot to say about Ginning’s play during the showcase, but first things first: IT’S PRONOUNCED YINNING.

Maddie: Oh my god, if I had to listen to them say “Jinning” one more time, I was going to lose my mind. But anywho... You were impressed with him, yeah?

B: Quite. His play was extremely surprising to me, in a good way. I was expecting him to be this stay-at-home defenseman who didn’t show much offensively, but instead saw a pretty well rounded defenseman who could actually move the puck. There were hiccups at times, just like every player, but he was overwhelmingly positive!

M: Totally. I feel like he’s looked better to me, the more I’ve seen of him. Like at the start of development camp, he looked pretty meh, and then by the end he looked sharper, and then even sharper still at this tournament.

B: And again, it’s such a small sample size, but it’s wild to me that his play was so much different than scouting reports would lead you to expect. He didn’t look Hagg-like at all. Maybe it’s because of the level of competition? I imagine that an under-20 Summer tournament is a bit (a lot) easier to play in than the SHL.

M: For sure. Plus a big body like Ginning is probably going to run the table a little bit against a smaller team like Finland’s. But still. He was solid. He held his own. And he did what I’ve been wanting him to—show me more. I left dev camp with the feeling that “there has to be more to this guy than we’re seeing.” And it looks like that was true.

B: Exactly, we wanted to see another dimension to his game and he showed that it is there.

M: His offensive game is still sort of an open question for me, though. But he’s got a hard shot? So that’s something?

B: It’s a really big question mark for sure, and while I don’t think he’ll suddenly become this risk-taking, playmaking defender, but he showed more jump offensively than I expected to see.

Like, who expected him to lead a rush like this? I know I certainly didn’t.

M: That was indeed very nice!

And I guess this is about when you start to wonder about role and coaching. Like has he been expected to just be the stay at home guy, to date, so that’s all he’s done? Maybe that’s too generous, but there’s definitely more there than we’ve seen.

B: That’s an interesting theory for sure, I mean he played in the SHL when he was 16 years old and that’s a pretty big feat in itself. It’s entirely possible that he has to play that “strong, reliable” defensive game to actually earn a coaches trust at that age? Am I entering conspiracy theory territory here or? We see it at the NHL level from time to time.

M: We’re close. So we’ll just leave it at a plausible happening.

Something sort of related to that, though, that I’ve been thinking a lot about his what his game looked like when he was playing with Adam Boqvist on Friday. It was like, as soon as he got the puck, his brain slammed the button that reads “get the puck to Boqvist immediately.” We saw that with Robert Hagg when he played with Shayne Gostisbehere earlier last season too. I don’t know what my breakdown of this is, but it’s interesting. It’s something.

B: It’s a sound strategy. He knows what he’s good at and at the same time is aware of what his partner is good at. I think we see Radko Gudas do this as well at times, when paired with Travis Sanheim especially, where he’ll defer to him when it comes to moving the puck up the ice. The problem with that comes when you get paired with another player who has similar strengths as yourself (Hagg with Andrew MacDonald, Gudas with Brandon Manning) and neither of you can get out of the zone.

M: Yeah, that’s when it gets kind of ugly. But I guess the bright side is that, by the time we could be seeing Ginning in the NHL, the Flyers should have a pretty stable core of good puck movers. And, who knows, maybe he cleans up his play, in the meantime. He’s 18. There’s certainly plenty of time and space for improvement.

B: Plus he’s already showing signs of improving his game in those areas.

M: That he is! I’m optimistic.

Note: Goaltender Samuel Ersson did play in one game for Team Sweden, but since that game wasn’t televised, we really don’t have anything to say about him. He made 30 saves on 33 shots through regulation and overtime, and stopped 1 out of 3 shootout attempts in Sweden’s 4-3 shootout loss to Finland. He also picked up the secondary assist on Lycksell’s breakaway goal!

Maddie: I wish we got to see him. I hope he had fun.

All bio information and tournament statistics courtesy of HockeyCanada