Axel Sandin Pellikka
2022-23 Team: Skelleftea AIK (SHL)
Date of Birth: March 11, 2005
Place of Birth: Gallivare, Sweden
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 181 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 7th (among European skaters)
- The Hockey Writers (Horn): 17th
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 15th
- FC Hockey: 12th
- TSN/McKenzie: 17th
- Elite Prospects: 14th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 17th
- Dobber Prospects: 10th
- Sportsnet: 13th
- The Hockey News: 13th
Axel Sandin Pellikka is one of the most offensively gifted defenders in the 2023 Draft. He has a high offensive IQ to go along with slick puck-moving abilities. The way he can patrol the offensive blue line is unmatched amongst this year’s crop of defencemen.
Sandin Pellikka is a first-round talent who made his presence felt in the J20 Nationell Swedish Junior League this past season with 36 points in 31 games. He dressed against Swedish Hockey League (SHL) competition this year as well. In 22 games he had two goals and three assists. He is presently playing for Team Sweden at the 2023 World U18 Championship.
Related: THW’s 2023 NHL Draft Guide
The biggest knock against Sandin Pellikka is his size and lack of strength. He isn’t weak, but will need to compensate for his lack of monstrous size and aggression with good edge work and weaving his way out of trouble. He could get stronger, and should naturally do so as he ages. Regardless of what he lacks, he makes up for it with his smart passes, mobility, and puck-carrying prowess.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Axel Sandin Pellikka – NHL Draft Projection
The general consensus among draft pundits is that Sandin Pellikka will go in the mid-to-late teens come draft day. NHL teams may be more attracted to David Reinbacher’s physical maturity and complete game. It would be a crime if he is still on the draft board beyond pick 20.
“One of the reasons for Sandin-Pellikka’s powerplay dominance is how comfortable he is to play different roles as we often see Sandin-Pellikka pinch down into more of a Left Wing position with the aim to one-time pucks on net. Paired with his ability to act as a forward on the powerplay is his sneaky skating which allows him find space at the backdoor or in the slot without being picked up by defenders.” – Joe Maciag, Recruit Scouting
Latest News & Highlights
“Sandin Pellikka’s skating is a thing of beauty. His stride is technically sound. His straight-line speed is excellent. When it comes to his first few steps, or acceleration, he is explosive. As for his edges, he generates a lot of speed through his crossovers, can stop on a dime, and transitions from forwards to backwards skating near-flawlessly. His four-way mobility is evident and at a high level.” – Kyle Pereira, LWOS
“Overall, It’s easy to envision Sandin-Pellikka’s combination of mobility and stickhandling at any professional level, and he has a translatable ability as a power-play quarterback. His defensive game is not his strongest quality, but he knows how to position himself to create giveaway opportunities, often capitalizing on them.” – Alexa Potack, Dobber Prospects
- Hockey IQ
- Wrist Shot
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Defensive game
Sandin Pellikka has the potential to be a top-four defenceman who is also a powerplay quarterback. Unless he greatly improves his defensive game he will more than likely never be a top-two defender. He has the makings of a 40-plus point powerplay specialist.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8.5/10, Defence – 6/10
Won the silver medal with Sweden at the 2022-23 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Sandin Pellikka was named the Best Defenceman for the J20 Nationell league. He also led all defencemen in goals in the J20 Nationell.