With the 15th Pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft the Vegas Golden Knights Have Selected Erik Brännström From the HV71 in the SHL.
About Erik Brännström
With a pick they landed from the New York Islanders as part of a deal for the Expansion Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights took defenceman Erik Brännström from HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League. A very offensively-minded defenceman, Brännström can move the puck up the ice quickly and has great vision to go along with some incredible skating abilities.
— NHL (@NHL) June 24, 2017
He played 19 games with HV71 J20 team in 2016-17 notching 23 points (nine goals 14 assists) in that span. Jump up to the SHL’s HV71 team and he notched six points in 35 games playing against the men. Not bad when you consider he made the transition mid-season.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt:
It definitely can’t be said about every player, but it can be said about Erik Brannstrom: He plays hockey with a personality. That’s why the 17-year-old defenceman became a regular on the Swedish Hockey League team HV71 in the 2016-17 season, with a quality to his game that was far beyond ordinary.
Brannstrom possesses a versatile toolset of being as good with the puck as he is without it. You see, he has some highly developed skating abilities – even in the SHL, he can outskate most opponents – along with a great habit of setting up his teammates for plays. There’s not much more you can ask of from an offensive d-man these days.
In 35 SHL games this year, the young Swede scored one goal and a totaled six points. His more impressive numbers, however, can be found in the junior leagues. After playing 26 games in the J20 SuperElit, including the playoffs, he scored 12 goals and 30 points. This tells us that Brannstrom likely could be a rapidly developing force next season.
If there’s anything standing in Erik Brannstrom’s way it would be his size. An outdated argument, I know, although it’s difficult to fully ignore the issue of a small defenceman. Still, it doesn’t have to be a weakness. It’s not for nothing that Brannstrom often times is compared to Kimmo Timonen in this regard. And it’s not for nothing that Timonen played 16 seasons in the NHL before retiring.
How This Affects the Vegas Golden Knights’ Plans
With the Knights having taken so many defensive players in the Expansion Draft, the assumption would be that Brännström won’t make an NHL debut anytime soon. That being said, he’s a great prospect for the Knights to have in the system awaiting his chance.
Their goal should be to bring him over to North America first and help him develop and adjust to the North American game.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.