2021-22 Team: Södertälje SK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Date of Birth: December 27, 2003
Place of Birth: Stockholm, Sweden
Ht: 6-foot-0 Wt: 176 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings: 35th (Among International Skaters)
- Draft Prospects Hockey Spring Rankings: 53rd
- Matthew Zator’s April Rankings: 84th
- FC Hockey: 98th
- Peter Baracchini’s May Rankings: 110th
At the beginning of the 2021-22 season, Ludvig Jansson was seen as one of the best defensive prospects out of Sweden. He put up 12 points in 18 games in Sweden’s junior league and made his professional debut as a 17-year-old with Södertälje SK of the HockeyAllsvenskan, playing 20 games and registering a goal and two points. Scouts loved his offensive instincts that allowed him to calmly wait for the right opening to jump into the attack. He owned a powerful, quick shot, and like many modern defencemen, possessed strong skating and speed.
But as the season went on, the lanky defender slowly became lost in a sea of top defensemen vying for a prominent position at the 2022 NHL Draft, including several of his fellow countrymen. His skills were still being lauded by scouts, from his excellent skating to his above-average offensive abilities, and his five points in 47 Allsvenskan games ranked seventh among U20 defensemen playing in the league. Yet fellow Swedish defencemen Simon Forsmark, Mattias Havelid, and Calle Odelius gained much more attention over the past several months, pushing Jansson further down the charts.
Part of Jansson’s drop may be due to the league he plays in. European leagues can be difficult to accurately compare to North America because of the different styles and rink sizes, so scouts want to see Swedish prospects make the jump to the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) in their draft year, even if just for a few games. That shows that these young players are ready to compete against some of the best players in the world. Forsmark, Havelid, and Odelius all made SHL appearances throughout 2021-22, and although only Forsmark registered any points, it gave scouts a much better scale to judge them. On the other hand, Jansson spent most of the season in the Allsvenskan, plus a handful of games in the U20 league.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
The good news for Jansson is that his drop seems to have little to do with his skill level. On top of his skating and offensive skills, he’s an aggressive defender, using his speed and agility to quickly move the puck up into the attacking zone or try to close a gap between him and an opponent. He loves jumping up in the rush, and he’s good at it, too – of the 15 defensemen who dressed in an international contest this season, Jansson was one of seven to register a goal, and was the youngest to accomplish the feat. While his aggressiveness can get him into trouble, especially in the defensive end, there’s a maturity and patience to his game while the puck is on his stick that few contemporaries possess. As he develops and continues to add strength, the defensive aspects will improve, but the offence is already top-notch.
A comparable to Jansson is William Wallinder, who came into the 2020 Draft without any SHL games played. Scouts loved his 6-foot-4 frame but thought he was still fairly raw. He wasn’t overly physical despite his size, and although he was an incredible skater and dangerous with the puck, there were some doubts about his defensive abilities. Still, the Detroit Red Wings loved his potential and used their early second-round pick to grab him. This season, Wallinder was the highest-scoring U20 player in the SHL with 19 points in 47 games. With a similar toolkit, Jansson could see his stock rise rapidly after his draft, so be careful not to sleep too long on him.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Ludvig Jansson – NHL Draft Projection
Jansson was looking like a solid second-round pick, but it’s more likely he’ll end up going somewhere in the fourth. He’s a riskier selection without any SHL experience, but his overall package should intrigue a team to grab him before too long. The fact that he’s a right-handed defenceman will also help his case. If he falls into the fourth round or beyond, he’ll be an excellent candidate to be a draft-day steal.
“Jansson is a smooth-skating defender who plays a strong two-way game. He has dynamic skating ability with multi-directional agility. He is dangerous in transition, both fast and elusive, and he is also fluid skating backwards with a quick defensive stick. Jansson makes an excellent first pass to start the attack or a quick outlet to evade forechecking pressure. He is an all-situations player. He runs the powerplay well, always walking the line and looking for lanes. On the penalty kill, he is not afraid to play physical to get the puck out of the zone or to block shots. He plays a smart game and has top-four, two-way potential at the next level.” Jonah Fleisher, Draft Pro
“Jansson is a really interesting defender with some huge offensive upsides and he continues to improve at the next level in HockeyAllsvenskan. He is calm personified in many situations and is a player to rely on in power play situations where he could point from the blue line. He can come down deep in his own zone, having good knowledge that he will get forechecked, but still take the hit and after that come out with the puck in control or directly after that set up a short or long pass that opens up the play. It is almost like he does offensive tackles in his own zone sometimes that surprise opponents.” Fredrik Haak, FCHockey
- Skating & Speed
- Calm under pressure
- Patience with the puck
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Aggression in his own end
14 years ago, the Ottawa Senators selected a highly-touted Swedish defender with great offensive and skating skills but faced criticism over his defensive gaps. That, of course, was Erik Karlsson, who became one of the era’s best offensive defencemen. While I don’t think Jansson is anywhere close to his skill level, there are some interesting similarities, namely their size, style of play, and defensive issues. In the right circumstances, Jansson could become a second-pairing defenceman with powerplay potential, but at the very least, he’ll be a dynamic third-line defender who can boost a team’s offence.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8/10, Defence – 6/10
Jansson has played three games at the U20 level, where he scored one goal. He also played four games with the U17 team in 2019-20.
Ludvig Jansson Statistics
An elementary teacher by day and an avid hockey fan, Dayton joined The Hockey Writers in 2019 and currently covers the Ottawa Senators, World Juniors, and NHL Entry Draft.