2019-20 Team: HV71 J20 (SuperElit)
Date of Birth: Feb. 23, 2002
Place of Birth: Västervik, Sweden
Ht: 5-foot-9 Wt: 183 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 15th (Among EU Skaters)
- Future Considerations: 47th
- Bob McKenzie, TSN: 67th
- Andrew Forbes’ Top-217 Rankings: 29th (March)
- Josh Bell’s Final Rankings: 22nd
- Larry Fisher’s Top-500 Final Rankings: 38th
As one of the highest-ranked available defensemen throughout the 2019-20 season, HV71’s Emil Andrae completed his draft year in dominant fashion, compiling 11 goals and 27 assists in 40 games to lock up the scoring title among defensemen in Sweden’s J20 SuperElit.
An offense-first defenseman, Andrae has excellent foot speed, hypnotizing puck skills, and is strong on his stick, which helps him to be effective at both ends of the ice.
When initiating a rush, Andrae is the guy you want to have the puck. He builds speed quickly and carries the puck well, but one of the strongest tools in his kit is his ability to find teammates on the rush. He can move the puck up ice himself, or effortlessly fire off a tape-to-tape pass. He often makes the right decisions with the puck, and has a natural ability to read a play as it’s developing, which is another one of his major draws.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
In the offensive zone, Andrae mans the point well with quick lateral movement, all while keeping his head up, drawing defenders away, and finding the open man. His shot could use some work, but he has a particularly quick snap to his shots and passes that can catch defenders off guard. He collects most of his points by using his vision and dexterity to sift shots through traffic for tips and rebounds, or send pucks into areas where his teammates can pick up tap-ins.
Andrae is only 5-foot-9, which is where there are some questions about how his game will transition outside of junior hockey. He played 10 games at the SHL level, but with such little ice time to work with, he didn’t manage any points. However, it’s a promising sign that he did earn those call-ups at only the age of 17.
Though he’s on the smaller side for defensemen, Andrae has some bite to his game, and isn’t afraid to get physical. He logged 82 penalty minutes in just 40 games this season, which is typically uncommon for smaller, offensive-minded blueliners.
Andrae will have adjustments to make when he presumably goes full-time in the SHL next season, but scouts have stressed that although his offensive abilities are his bread and butter, he’s a surprisingly good defender as well.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Emil Andrae – NHL Draft Projection
In a draft headlined by its talented group of forwards, defensemen like Andrae could come off the board early. But if teams are going by the “choose the best player available” mantra, he will likely be selected early in the second round, anywhere from pick 30 to 35. Teams who prioritize speed and skill will want to take a long look at him.
“Andrae is an undersized offensive defenseman with a left-handed shot. His biggest strengths are his skating ability and hockey sense. His edge work is excellent and it allows him to be very elusive. He is a great passer who can start breakouts with short and long passes, and he is also very strong in the offensive zone. Even though he doesn’t own a heavy shot, he’s good at getting shots to the net and sneaking in close enough to score with his good wrist shot. He is a very creative player who can execute plays that most players can’t even think of. Although an offense-minded player, he is also surprisingly good defensively, especially with his active stick. There are a lot of similarities between Andrae and Erik Brännström who plays a similar style, and they both played on HV71 system for the final two years before their draft. Andrae is not quite as good a prospect as Brännström was but he’s not that far from it either.” – Jokke Nevalainen – Dobber Prospects
“Andrae makes up for his lack of size with excellent mobility. He is an extremely fast skater in both directions. However, it is his edgework and agility that is even better. He is able to maneuver though traffic both with and without the puck. Andrae is willing to rush the puck up the ice and create plays. He is also willing to join the rush without the puck. He has the passing skills to quarterback the power play from the point and a strong wrist shot. Despite his size, Andrae is willing to throw hits and play a physical game in the defensive end, though there are questions how this will translate against men.” – Ben Kerr, Last Word on Hockey
- Dynamic passer
- Can lead a rush & run a power play
- Hockey IQ
- Strong stick
- Well-rounded toolkit
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Remodeling his game to smaller ice surfaces
- Matching the size and physicality of men’s leagues
Andrae seems like a good bet to make the NHL thanks to his talents with the puck. He may need to tone down the chippiness as he ascends the ranks and plays with bigger, tougher opponents, but if he sticks to what he does best and continues to develop his puck skills and awareness, he should find success at the NHL level. There will be fundamental adjustments to come, but he projects to be a middle-pairing defenseman who can be deployed on power plays.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 9/10, Defense – 6.5/10
Andrae led all defensemen in points in J20 SuperElit this season. At the 2019 U-18 Hlinky Gretzky Cup, he tallied four points in five games to help Sweden capture the bronze medal. He also won a bronze medal with Sweden at the 2018 World U-17 Hockey Challenge tournament.
Matt Cosman is a Sheridan College print journalism graduate from Oakville, Ontario. I’ve been with THW since 2019 covering the Carolina Hurricanes, one of my favorite childhood teams. When I’m not in my hockey bubble you can probably catch me jamming out on the piano or losing money at the poker tables.