The St. Louis Blues took their first defenseman of the draft, and it’s Swedish defenseman Leo Lööf with the 88th pick.
Leo Lööf, Defense (Pick No. 88) (6-foot-2, 176 pounds)
CS Ranking (EU): 53 / Larry Fisher (THW) Ranking: 148
With possibly the best name in the draft, the Blues take Leo Lööf with their second third-round pick. The first defenseman taken by the club in this draft is one with height, which is not surprising at all.
I’d say that based on the clip above, Lööf is a physical blueliner who isn’t afraid to lay big hits in the neutral zone. There are reasons to have some excitement with this pick, even if it’s in the third round.
Overview: What He Does Well
Lööf defends well, as he is a defensive defenseman. He is hard to beat as a defender and uses his body well in most situations. He is also a very sound player with his stick, and he checks well with his stick too.
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Another big part of Lööf’s game is his physicality. He is super physical and not afraid to throw the body around. That can be a big deal in the playoffs, specifically being able to defend and throw hits is huge.
He has produced well at every level, but he will need multiple years to develop his game and body. He did have a bump in the THW draft rankings in October of 2019 but fell eventually down the list.
Overview: What He Needs to Work On
A big thing for Lööf is developing his body and overall two-way game. He is a defensive defenseman, but it wouldn’t hurt to work on his puck skills and become more of a threat from the blue line.
He’s already got a developed defensive game and will need to become even better at it when the competition gets harder. He’s likely about 4-5 years away from being a potential roster player for the Blues.
Even working on his shot from the back-end wouldn’t hurt, making him more of a threat to opponents when he has the puck. We already know he is a tough defender and is hard to play against. But adding another element to his game would not hurt him at all. Putting on some weight would help, and that is part of the body development part.
Scout and Draft Analyst Thoughts
EliteProspects: “He was among the best players for Farjestad when they reached the J18 Finals in 2019 and was selected as the league’s best defenseman. Lööf is a technically refined stickhandler, with poise and a sound mechanical base. He’s tough as nails along the boards and in front of his own net, dominating his opponents with strong reads and heavy hits.”
“Lööf still needs to deal with his defensive issues, but with some coaching, he should turn into a solid bottom-pairing defenceman in the NHL.”
While he boasts a great defensive game, he’s likely to be a bottom-pairing defenseman if he reaches the NHL. Most scouts think the same of him as well.
His size and physicality could make him an attractive prospect for the club in a few years. If he can develop his skills well, he could be a player that the Blues use in trade talks if they ever need to make a deal and send a quality prospect elsewhere.
We could always be surprised and see something happen with Lööf that happened with Colton Parayko.
Parayko was the 86th overall pick in the 2012 draft and has become a top-pairing defensive defenseman, and he’s one of the best in the league at it.
That would be the lucky, and ultimately, the best-case scenario with the Blues for Lööf. If he could ever become something similar to Parayko, the Blues did a fantastic job with this pick.
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Don’t expect that to happen, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility with his physical style defensively. He is a player that fell in some draft rankings, so if he can find his game, I expect him to at least get a chance in the NHL down the road.
I have been covering sports for nearly a decade. I started with FanSided as a Baseball Contributor. Now I am writing about the NHL and the St. Louis Blues for The Hockey Writers. I grew up in Central Illinois as a huge fan of every sport. Finally, I do various podcasting across all major platforms.