When evaluating a prospect, one of the key things to look for is how they handle a pressure situation. Imagine playing in games that involve any kind of relegation. You win and your team moves up. You lose and your team gets relegated to lower divisions or leagues. The first thing I think about when I evaluate Sweden’s Jacob Olofsson is that he’s a winner and can perform under pressure.
Olofsson was one of the main reasons why his team Timra will be playing in the SHL’s top division in 2018-19. He scored three goals in the yearly tournament known as the Kvalserien. In it, the two bottom teams in the SHL play in a tournament with four teams from a second-tier league known as Hockey Allsvenskan. The top two teams in Kvalserien are promoted to the SHL the following season. Timra was one of those teams.
Olofsson finished with a line of 10-11-21 in 43 games this past season. He also played on both the U18 and U20 teams for Sweden. At the U18’s he was one of their alternate captains.
So what do we have in Olofsson? We have a player who is used to playing against men on the bigger ice surface. He already has an NHL frame and is only going to get stronger. He uses his frame to play an solid two-way game. His strength lies on the offensive end. He’s one of the smartest players in this draft and uses his hockey sense to make plays. He has a quick release on his shot and is a deadly passer. He doesn’t need much room to make something happen.
Two questions stand out for me about Olofsson at the next level. His skating is improving but is pretty average. He does depend on his hockey sense to make up for the lack of top-end speed. Can he continue to improve in this aspect? Also his defense is ok but average. In watching some of his games, he demonstrated some carelessness with the puck in his own end. He needs to continue to improve with the puck in his own end and away from the puck in transition. Also keep in mind he is under contract next season in Sweden for Timra.
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Jacob Olofsson – NHL Draft Projection
The industry in general has Olofsson in a range anywhere from the late first-anywhere in the second round. I’m with the consensus in that regard. Olofsson is one of the first few picks in the second round on my board although he could perform at a higher level than that. Teams that believe he will improve his skating and defense could reach for him in the first.
“Olofsson was named the best rookie in Sweden’s top minor league and played an important role in vaulting Timra into the SHL’s top division for next year. He’s big, quick and strong on the puck, plus he can be counted on to match up against top players.” –The Sporting News
“Center playing both power play and penalty kill for the best team in Allsvenskan. Steps up in big situations and tries to create offense. Sometimes sloppy and needs to cover the puck better but a very interesting prospect ” –McKeen’s Hockey
- Quick release on shot
- Excellent hockey sense
- Great passer
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Average defensively
- Decent but just average skater
Olofsson’s upside is that of a second to third-line center who can play in all situations. I think he lacks top-end skating and defensive play to consider him a true number-one center. Regardless, he has a lot of things working for him where he has a safe floor at the next level.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7.5/10, Defence – 7/10
Olofsson won bronze for Team Sweden at both the Hlinka and the U18 tournaments. He also helped his team earn a promotion to the SHL because of his play in juniors.
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