With the 71st pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues have selected Simon Robertsson from Skellefteå AIK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL)
About Simon Robertsson
Simon Robertsson was once considered a top-15 talent prior to the COVID-shortened season in Sweden’s J20 league, and before his ice time took a significant hit at the top-level SHL. Equipped with one of the hardest shots in the 2021 Draft class, he is a multi-use winger that possesses both size and speed. His work ethic and 200-foot game give him the tools to be a top-six forward and — by dropping to the third round — should be considered the steal of the draft.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“In a draft skewed with unpredictability, teams looking to select a well-rounded player with few flaws will want to take a deep look at power forward Simon Robertsson. The right-winger for Skellefteå AIK lit up Sweden’s J20 league before the cancellation of its season, scoring nine goals and 20 points in just 15 games.
“Robertsson was then moved to the top level of the SHL, where his ice time was unfortunately gutted. He scored just two points in 22 games playing among men, but even though he didn’t contribute much on the scoresheet, it was a promising time of adjustment and growth for the 18-year-old.
“Robertsson stands at 6-feet tall but weighs in at an impressive 190 pounds. That strength is noticeable when he’s skating the puck up ice, as he has a high top speed and is tough to contend with along the boards. Nowhere is his power more evident, however, than in his shot. Robertsson has one of the hardest wrist shots in the draft and uses deceptive release points to make it even more difficult to stop.
“Whether it’s on the power play, cycle, or the rush, Robertsson wants the puck, and he uses his natural instincts to guide himself into open areas to release his shot. He has a shooter’s mentality, knows how to effectively use defenders as screens, and can seemingly score from anywhere. Scouts laud Robertsson’s work ethic, as he’s one of the more adept draftees in all three zones. Unlike many young players, he doesn’t make many glaring errors and is typically positionally sound.
“His foot speed and agility are an asset. If given enough ice, he’ll use his long, powerful strides to reach top speeds that make him extremely difficult to deal with. He scores most of his goals relying on his booming shot but isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas and compete physically as well.
“There are areas to improve with regards to his passing and playmaking if he wants to become a more complete offensive threat. His slingshot-style release may not translate as well to the NHL, where bigger, more aggressive defensemen won’t give him as much time and space. The smaller North American ice surface will also give him less time to work with, and making quick, on-the-spot plays is something he sometimes struggles with. But, the ingredients of a top-six forward are there, and there’s a lot more to like about Robertsson’s game than just his shot.”
How This Affects the Blues Plans
Robertsson brings a heavy shot and a goal-scoring mentality to the Blues, while also providing a 200-foot game as a potential top-six forward for St. Louis.
Born and raised in Michigan, Kyle Knopp started playing hockey when he was 3 years old. Knopp has played, coached, or worked at every level of ice hockey — including three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and two seasons with the Detroit Red Wings where he was part of the Stanley Cup Championship team in 2008. He covers the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings for The Hockey Writers and is the editor of THW’s Morning Skate newsletter. You can follow him on Twitter @THW_Knopp.