2019-20 Team: Leksands IF / SHL
Date of Birth: Nov 16, 2001
Place of Birth: Leksand, Sweden
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 185 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 26th (Among EU skaters)
- DobberProspects: 61st
- The Hockey Writers (Josh Bell): 57th
- The Hockey Writers (Andrew Forbes): 70th
- The Hockey Writers (Larry Fisher): 70th
Few players did more for their draft stock during the 2019-20 season than Emil Heineman. After a lackluster 2018-19 campaign playing for Leksands IF J20, where he only posted one goal and five points in 27 games, little was expected of him ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft.
However, Heineman dominated the Swedish junior league in 2019-20, putting himself into the discussion as one of the best forward prospects that no one saw coming this year.
In 29 games, Heineman posted 26 goals and 41 points, placing him at the top of the Under-20 SuperElit scoring race. The scoring explosion also earned him a spot with Leksands’ SHL club, giving him some playing time with and against men. While he wasn’t exceptional in those games, he still posted two assists and appears to have a starting role locked down for the 2020-21 season.
Emil Heineman – NHL Draft Projection
As one of the breakout players in 2019-20, Heineman has seen his draft position soar. By the end of the season, many saw him as a mid-to-late third-round selection at the very worst.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
Given his toolkit and talent, however, it seems likely that a team could fall in love and take a shot on him in either the late second or early third round. While that may make expectations a bit high, Heineman has the talent and hockey IQ to not only match but exceed those expectations.
A cerebral player who takes the right routes and makes good decisions on or off the puck, Heineman is the quintessential playmaker because he puts defensemen and goalies on notice the second he hops over the boards.Steve Kourianos – thedraftanalyst.com
Watching Heineman, it looks like he’s 2-3 years older and more developed than every other player on the ice. He thinks the game at an extremely high level, often 5-6 seconds ahead of the play.Alexander Taxman – futurescopehockey.com
Heineman was one of the best players in SuperElit in 2019-2020 which was surprising because not much was expected from him before the season started. He had already played a full season in SuperElit in 2018-2019 with lackluster results. But his development took a massive step…Jokke Nevalainen – Dobberprosepcts.com
- Incredible hockey IQ
- Willing to play the body and use his size
- Great stickhandling ability with incredible hands
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Skating is good but needs to develop
- Lacks a top-end offensive toolkit
- One incredible season could be a fluke
Related THW Draft Profiles
When it comes down to it, Heineman has everything that you look for in an NHL prospect. He is big but still fast on his skates, he sees the game like a veteran and is going to play against men starting in the 2020-21 season, giving him the opportunity to hone his game against some exceptional players.
Given all of this, there’s no reason that Heineman couldn’t reach the NHL in a few short years. At the very worst, he should become a serviceable bottom-six scoring forward who can inject some needed talent into any forward corps.
If all goes perfectly in his development, there’s even top-line potential in Heineman. That, again, may set expectations too high, however, as he will more likely settle into a second- or third-line role if he makes it to the NHL.
4/5 Risk, 4/5 Reward
It’s difficult to not overhype a player like Heineman. If you look at only his most recent body of work, you can see a player who is a first-round talent at a third-round draft position.
Related: THW’s 2020 Mock NHL Draft Round 1
However, one great season doesn’t make an elite NHLer. There’s a reason why he isn’t being projected alongside the top talents in this year’s draft… he’s still relatively unproven.
Does this mean that a team could end up drafting an elite talent in the third-round? Maybe. It also means that Heineman could be a one-hit-wonder who has already played his best season of hockey.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.