LA Kings Prospect Profiles: Tobias Bjornfot

LA Kings Prospect Profiles Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliyev, and Tobias Bjornfot

Tobias Bjornfot

2020-21 Team: Los Angeles Kings
Date of Birth: April 6, 2001
Place of Birth: Upplands Vasby, SWE
Ht: 6-foot-0
Wt: 202 pounds
Shoots: Left
Position: D
Acquired: 2019 NHL Draft #22 overall

Tobias Bjornfot Bio

Tobias Bjonfot played hockey as a teenager in Sweden with IFK Taby HC and Djurgardens IF. He worked his way up to the latter club’s J20 team in the 2017-18 season, putting up six goals and 16 assists in 42 games. He had a similarly good 2018-19 season, posting 11 goals and 11 assists in 32 games, also getting shot in the SHL— he was not able to get on the scoresheet in the seven games he played.

The Los Angeles Kings selected Bjornfot at the 2019 NHL Draft, 22nd overall. In the season following his draft, he played mostly in the AHL with the Kings’ minor league affiliate, the Ontario Reign.

Tobias Bjornfot Kings Draft
Tobias Bjornfot, Los Angeles Kings, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In his first AHL season, Bjornfot recorded six goals and 13 assists in 44 games. He also played his first three NHL games in the 2019-20 season, but he did not put up any points. He joined Team Sweden at the 2020 WJC, where he was held off the scoresheet in the seven games he played.

Bjornfot played nearly the entire 2020-21 season with the Kings, scoring his first NHL goal and adding five assists in 33 games. He also played 15 games on loan to Djurgardens IF, recording one goal and two assists. He returned to the WJC in 2021, putting up two assists in five games.

Scouting Report

Bjornfot is an outstanding defensive defenseman. As a forward, there won’t be much ice to take while he is out there, but because of his reliability, he doesn’t have a ton of offensive upside. As demonstrated by his point totals throughout his career, he is not the guy who will be joining the rush with forwards.

Tobias Bjornfot LA Kings
Tobias Bjornfot, Los Angeles Kings (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

With that said, he does still have great skating and an elite shot. These skills, paired with his high-end hockey IQ, allows him to convert if he finds himself in a scoring area, as rare as it may be.

NHL Projection

Bjornfot has shown steady improvement over his time in North America. As long as he keeps it up, he should become a big piece of the Kings’ top-four. LA has defensive prospects who like to get up ice to utilize their offensive abilities, so the success of the dependable Bjornfot is crucial to the team. He has been compared stylistically to two-time Stanley Cup winner Ryan McDonagh.

Brian Gibbons, Ryan McDonagh
Tampa Bay Lightning Ryan McDonagh cuts in front of Ottawa Senators Brian Gibbons (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Like Bjornfot, McDonagh has never put up big numbers offensively, but he is always ready to handle the rush when it comes his way, and he is always willing to block shots; this season, he recorded 96 blocks, first on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Kings’ D-core will be in great shape moving forward if Bjornfot can develop his defensive game to the effectiveness of McDonagh’s.

Quotables

He is a solid stickhandler and good passer, as likely to make the simple, safe play as he is to attempt something more challenging.

McKeen’s Hockey

Björnfot is a reliable two-way defenseman who makes smart decisions at both ends of the rink. He likes to join the rush but avoids unnecessary risks. He has decent size, and he’s a good defensive player because of his high hockey sense. Björnfot has also shown good leadership qualities at a young age. He’s an alternate captain on his team in SuperElit, and he’s been carrying the ‘C’ on his sweater for Team Sweden in international tournaments.

Jokke Nevalainen, DobberProspects

[Tobias Björnfot’s] play was really good. For a young player, of course he’s had a year in the in the American League, but he came in and he knows his range now. He knows where he fits in speed wise, how quick he needs to make plays, and how much time he has to make plays. He was really good in the game tonight, so that was nice to see. The stretch play was probably as much a clearing play as it was a pass. [Austin] Wagner was stepping out of the box, but Toby had the sense to know where he was as far as the shift goes and how close he is to the end of the penalty kill to at least throw that puck to that area, so good for him and good for [Wagner] to put it in.

Todd McLellan, head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, on Bjornfot’s first NHL game of the 2020-21 season.

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