To kick off our annual tradition of the top 25 under 25 in the Philadelphia Flyers organization, we look to Sweden and defenseman Linus “The Hog” Hogberg. The 2016 fifth-round pick may have slipped one position from our winter rankings, but that says more about the added depth in the prospect pool than the skill of Hogberg.
At a still very young 20 years old, Hogberg has been one of the better play-driving defensemen in the SHL over the past three seasons. Combine that with his added point production (albeit just by four points) and we’re looking at a guy who should prove to be very valuable to the team whether it be as a blueliner down the road, or a trading chip for a proven NHL veteran.
With the likes of newly acquired Justin Braun and Matt Niskanen not being the youngest of folks, Hogberg is a guy who could factor into the Flyers blueline equation in the coming years, should they hold onto him. Given his production in the SHL it would be nice if they kept the young Swede around and see what he has on North American ice.
No. 25: Linus Hogberg
Age: 20 (9/4/1998)
Size: 6’1”, 176
Acquired Via: 2016 NHL Draft -- Round 5, Pick 139
2018-19 League/Team/Statistics: Växjö Lakers (SHL) - 2 G, 8 A in 52 GP
Ranking in BSH Winter 2019 25 Under 25: 24
Over the past three seasons, according to the SHL website, Hogberg’s Corsi For percentage has been 55.93, 55.36, and 56.13. This is a guy who is projecting extremely well at driving play once he eventually comes over to North America, and helping the Flyers depleting defensive prospect pool. Sure, the additions of Cam York (Yam Cork) and even Ronnie Attard mitigated those issues in June’s draft, but you can never have too many defense prospects.
The most impressive aspect about Hogberg’s production has arguably been the age in which he’s done it. Hogberg entered the SHL full-time in his age 17 season and immediately was driving play. He’s increased his point totals every single season starting with four in his rookie season, six the following year, and now 10 this past season.
One could make the argument that he’s had the good fortune of playing with one of the best teams in the SHL in the Växjö Lakers, a team that has finished first in the SHL two out of the past three regular seasons. However, Hogberg seems to have all the tools to be a solid defenseman at the NHL level regardless of the talent he’s playing with.
A knock on Hogberg that could be more important than we now realize is ice time. He’s not receiving top minutes and although this makes sense given his age, it could be a contributing factor to his higher possession metrics. There aren’t any quality of competition (QoC) statistics for the SHL, but this could also be helping Hogberg’s case.
He still hasn’t been signed by the club, but I’d imagine going into his fourth SHL season, a decision should be made soon especially with the lack of depth in the prospect pool for defensemen. If Hogberg is signed this season, I’d love to see what he could do with the Phantoms and how he transitions to the AHL, and if those stellar possession numbers can carry over.
Previously in Philadelphia Flyers Summer 2018 Top 25 Under 25: