2021-22 Team: Linköping HC (SHL)
DOB: January 1, 2004
Place of Birth: Täby, Sweden
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 172 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 Draft Eligible
With a silky-smooth skating stride and a sneaky-good wrist shot, Mattias Hävelid has all the tools of a top-four, modern day defenseman. He can wow you in a number of ways, whether it’s his play recognition in the offensive zone, the way he can carry the puck through the neutral zone, or his ability to move the puck out of the defensive zone with a crisp, leading pass that springs the offense. At almost every level he’s played at, he’s done nothing but impress.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
At the U18 tournament this year while representing his native Sweden, Hävelid had four goals and 12 points through six games, one of the more impressive stat lines for a Sweden team that featured at least three potential first round picks in the 2022 draft, including a player that some have ranked in the top-10. While the defenseman’s physical tools won’t impress you, his play more than makes up for a perceived lack of size. While playing on that U18 team, he stood out as one of the best players at his age level, and he was more than capable of playing with the high-end talent on Sweden’s roster.
Where Hävelid really stands out amongst his peers in the 2022 Draft is his ability to make plays at top-speed with and without the puck. Whether it’s sending a tape-to-tape pass while flying through the neutral zone or gaining position on a defender to make himself available for a pass, he is extremely mobile in all areas of the ice. His top speed is not among the best in the 2022 draft class, but he is able to push the pace as well as keep up with it as it continues to accelerate. It’s easy to envision him fitting right in with a team that emphasizes speed in their offensive strategy.
Hävelid is strong positionally, but his defensive IQ is not up there with the best defensemen in this year’s class. He’s almost always looking to send the puck in the offensive direction, and that sometimes comes at the cost of attention to details in the defensive end. For a player of his stature, he needs to be able to make an impact at both ends of the ice, and while there is a good foundation to build on here, you would like to see his defensive game evolve over the next couple of seasons.
Furthermore, any player that is his size will face questions about how effective they can be at the NHL level. The North American game is a physical one, and until smaller players prove they can handle it, those kinds of questions will persist. To Hävelid’s credit, he mobility should allow him to evade getting bullied when he has the puck, and I wouldn’t describe him as a timid player. There’s a ton of Quinn Hughes in his game, and if he can develop into a defenseman that is even remotely like the Vancouver Canucks defender, the team that takes him will probably count that as a win.
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Mattias Hävelid – NHL Draft Projection
Hävelid is one of the most skilled defensemen available in the 2022 draft, and there will be plenty of teams that have their eye on him because of it. It isn’t out of the question that a team picking in the last third of the first round calls his name. He may have to wait until the second round before a team picks him, but he should not have to wait much longer than that. Anywhere in the 20-50 range seems likely for him, with the most likely projection being somewhere in the first few picks of the second round.
“The hockey IQ and vision that Hävelid has is at top level, and he is a dynamic puckhandler and distributor that keeps things interesting in every moment of his offensive game. Hävelid can makes plays in high speed and makes unpredictable things happen with long and accurate passes that open up the game in a unique way.” – Fredrik Haak, FC Hockey
“Hävelid constantly plays on the edge and likes to join the rush to support attacks. He also likes to carry the puck in transition and when he is in the offensive zone, he is confident with the puck and can make plays on the blue line. He plays with pace but also sometimes makes mistakes due to a lack of patience. However, that doesn’t happen very often.” – Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects
“His best asset is his skating, which he uses to start the attack and carry the puck through the neutral zone. With his high end agility, Hävelid will weave through traffic confidently and set up in the offensive zone.” – Curtis Schwartzkopf, FC Hockey
- Offensive creativity
- Skating with and without the puck
- Breakout pass
- Not afraid of going to the dirty areas of the ice
- Defensive IQ
- Patience with the puck
- Questions regarding size
With the right development, Hävelid could become a top-four defenseman that plays in key offensive situations. If he can find another level or two in his defensive game, he could be a trusted player in all areas of the game and could become something of a minute-muncher for his team. Without that defensive development, he could still become a bottom-pairing, offensive defenseman that can find playing time on his team’s second power play unit.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 8.5/10, Defense – 5/10
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I am a Western Michigan University alum whose passion for hockey knows no limits. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Catch me and my fellow Red Wings writers’ YouTube show “The Hockey Writers Grind Line” which drops every Saturday.