July is here and we’re inching closer and closer to the draft, and as we do, our draft board marches on. Next up, we’re closing out the top-20 and talking about Swedish winger Oskar Olausson.
Olausson spent this season jumping around between levels in Sweden, but wherever he was placed, he seemed to find success. He’s a quick, skilled winger with a dynamic offensive game, and there’s a whole lot to like about his skillset. Let’s get into it!
BSH 2021 Community Draft Board, No. 20: Oskar Olausson
Team: HV71 J20 (J20 Nationell), HV71 (SHL), Södertälje SK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Stats: 14 G, 13 A in 16 GP (J20 Nationell), 3 G, 1 A in 16 GP (SHL), 3 G, 3 A in 11 GP (HockeyAllsvenskan)
No. 13 (EU skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 48 by FC Hockey
No. 13 by Dobber Prospects
No. 20 by Wheeler/The Athletic
What’s there to like?
What immediately stands out about Olausson is the speed he brings. He’s a strong skater with a smooth stride, and is able to bring quite a bit of good individual speed, but even more than that, he just plays with a very good pace. He’s able to transition the puck well, he isn’t afraid to be something of a one-man transition machine, carrying the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone to create a chance. He can stand to improve there, but he’s already quite strong, and he’s hard to push off of pucks once he gets moving, and a lot of that is helped by his elusiveness, how he’s able to cut through traffic and avoid defenders.
His offensive toolkit is also a really exciting one. We see that same elusiveness through quick cuts and good edgework in his skating in the offensive zone, and that opens up extra time and space for him to work with. He’s able to thread a quick pass and has flashed some skill as a playmaker, but his shot is really what stands out, more often. He has a hard, deceptive wrist shot and a very quick release, and can be a scoring threat from just about anywhere on the ice. We saw those pretty impressive scoring numbers earlier, and with a skillset like this, it really isn’t a mystery how he was able to already jump into the professional game and have a respectable scoring impact.
But a little more on that idea! There’s an added bonus here in that Olausson has already found some success playing at the SHL level. It wasn’t a perfect run of games, and of course the scoring pace didn’t immediately translate, but we didn’t expect all of that to be the case. It’s a big ask for a teenager to jump into the professional game and not just find a way to stay afloat, but to be flat out effective, but Olausson was able to do just that. It puts him a step ahead in his development, and certainly speaks to his skill and potential.
What’s not to like?
There really isn’t too much at work here in terms of big concerns about or holes in Olausson’s game. Really, there are just a couple of areas where that game needs a bit of cleaning up. He’s got good size (6’1”, 181 pounds), but we’d still like to see him get stronger and then add a bit more of a physical element to his game. Nothing crazy, but it would be an asset to him, to be sure.
His defensive game also needs a bit of polishing—it isn’t a problem, as it is, and he shows a willingness to get back defensively, but he’s still far from a finished product. His pace of play and strong forechecking ability have helped him a good deal up to this point, it’s just a matter of cleaning up some of his reads in the defensive zone so he doesn’t get himself into trouble quite as often.
And finally, for as much as his offensive toolkit makes him dangerous, Olausson can get caught playing on the perimeter a bit too much, so that’s something that just needs to be worked out of his game.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
The Flyers are pretty flush with wingers in their pipeline right now, but as we know, that doesn’t mean that they absolutely should not add another one if the best player available to them happens to be a winger. That shouldn’t be an issue.
As far as Olausson’s style of play goes, it’s easy to see it meshing well with the Flyers, giving them a boost. Olausson plays with very good pace, and brings a good bit of raw speed, and that’s something that the Flyers could certainly use a bit more of. Beyond that, there really isn’t too much that he does that addresses a major hole in the Flyers’ lineup, but his offensive toolkit remains a very good one, he’s a dynamic player, and that would certainly be a boost for this team.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
There’s a bit of volatility when it comes to where Olausson’s projected to be taken, but the big takeaway is that, in all likelihood, he’ll be on the board when the Flyers pick at 13. In fact, there’s a good chance he’ll be on the board into the later part of the first round, so he’s also an option if they want to repeat their last two years’ drafting model and move back in the first round.
We’ll also make one addition to the poll:
Zachary Bolduc — C/W, Rimouski Océanic
He’s confident attacking off the flank to the slot, and he gets his wrister off in a hurry (though it’s not overpowering), but I think he sees the ice at an advanced level and plays with good speed as well. Without the puck, he’s also a responsible, no-cheat player who understands his role within a system. He has also played all three forward positions in his young career. - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
Who should be 21st on the draft board?
This poll is closed
2021 BSH Community Draft Board
- Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Brandt Clarke — D, Nove Zamky (Slovakia)
- Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton (WHL)
- William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
- Luke Hughes — D, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Simon Edvinsson — D, Frölunda HC J20 / J20 Nationell - 21/22
- Kent Johnson — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Aatu Räty — C, Kärpät U20 and Kärpät (Liiga)
- Jesper Wallstedt — G, Luleå (SHL)
- Mason McTavish — C, EHC Olten (SL)
- Cole Sillinger — C/LW, Sioux (USHL)
- Chaz Lucius — C, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Fabian Lysell — LW/RW, Luleå HF (SHL)
- Carson Lambos — D, JYP U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
- Matthew Coronato — F, Chicago Steel (USHL)
- Nikita Chibrikov — LW/RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL), SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
- Sasha Pastujov — LW, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Corson Ceulemans — D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
- Oskar Olausson — LW/RW, HV71 J20 (J20 Nationell), HV71 (SHL), Södertälje SK (HockeyAllsvenskan)