2018-19 Team: HV71 J20
Date of Birth: June 4, 2001
Place of Birth: Danderyd, Sweden
Ht: 6-foot-3 Wt: 194 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
Goaltender Hugo Alnefelt had a very up and down season in 2018-19, but what bodes well for him is how it ended at the IIHF U18s World Hockey Championship. He had a very good tournament, helping the team to a gold medal victory.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2019 Edition
Alnefelt played five games of Sweden’s seven games in the tournament and held a 2.75 goals-against average (GAA) and a .921 save percentage (SV%). He was voted as one of the top three players on his team.
During his regular season, he played in the Swedish SuperElit league with HV71 J20. In 24 games, he had a 2.59 GAA and a .905 SV%. Not exactly inspiring numbers. It got worse for him in the playoffs, with a 3.09 GAA and .894 SV%. He did play two games in the J18 Elit as well, holding a 2.01 GAA and .942 SV%.
There’s definitely potential for the young goalie. Looking at his play, he has great movement and agility. His glove hand is among the best in the draft, as can be seen in the video at the end of this profile. When he needs to, he has the ability to steal a game for his team, definitely a desirable trait in an NHL goaltender.
He has good positioning, cutting down the angles on shooters. While his butterfly is one of his best qualities, there’s lots to like. What sees him drop in the goaltender rankings though is his tracking. Over the course of the season, there were times that he lost the puck, resulting in goals that should not have gone in. He’s just 18 years old, so he may improve over time, but some NHL teams may not want to take that gamble.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Hugo Alnefelt – NHL Draft Projection
While Alnefelt is ranked second among EU goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting, he might not be one of the goaltenders taken near the top. There’s a lot to like in his game, but there are also some red flags that might see him slip in the draft. I would see him as a late pick in the fifth round at the earliest.
“I’ve seen highs and lows from Hugo this season. On his highs, he shows you a 6-foot-2 goalie who can make very difficult saves. He moves quite well, has a good glove hand and can steal a game for his team. I’ve also seen bad games where he’s letting goals through that have no business going in, be it due to not tracking pucks well or not maintaining good technique in net. I score his hockey sense as above-average because overall I see more good than bad, but he has stretches where he seems to lose his game.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (From: “Pronman’s 2019 NHL Draft Board: Top goalie prospects” – The Athletic – May 23, 2019).
“He’s big, he’s quick and he plays the butterfly to a tee. He was a big reason that the Swedes were able to squeak out the OT win. He made 35 saves against the Russians and frustrated them all night. I really liked his battling as he got run twice by Podkolzin in that game alone (one ended up being a goal despite the initial call of Goalie Interference). Despite that, he never stopped squaring himself on the edges of the blue ice. Goalies are always tricky, but he showed a lot of good things in a tournament where there were several standout goaltending performances.” – Adam French, Hockeybuzz
- Glove hand
- Hockey Sense
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Tracking the puck
While there’s positives to Alnefelt’s game, there are also some drawbacks. As Pronman mentioned, there’s a tendancy to let in goals that shouldn’t go in. But he’s performed well internationally, which may be a good sign moving forward. Whether he’ll become a starter in the NHL is up for debate, but he should definitely get some NHL experience. It may be a few years before that chance though.
Risk – 4.5/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Goaltending – 6/10
In the 2016-17 season, Alnefelt was playing in the TV-Puken tournament with Stockholm Nord, where he had the tournament’s best GAA and SV%, was honoured as the best goaltender and helped his team win gold. The following season in the J18 Elit, he had the best GAA, 1.63 in 11 games. This past season, Alnefelt played well internationally, winning a silver medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Memorial Cup and a gold medal at the U18 World Hockey Championship. He was voted a top-three player on Team Sweden at the U18s.
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.