Oskar Asplund Statistics
2021-22 Team: Almtuna IS / HockeyAllsvenskan
Date of Birth: Nov 18th, 2003
Place of Birth: Uppsala, Sweden
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 172 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 eligible
- NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings: 65th (among EU Skaters)
- Recruit Scouting: 147th
- Draft Prospects Hockey: 99th
- FCHockey: 148th
- Smaht Scouting: 120th
- Scott Wheeler of The Athletic – 73rd
Sometimes, the most significant thing holding a player back at the NHL Draft is visibility. While on paper they may have everything that NHL general managers (GM’s) dream of in a mid-round pick if there simply isn’t enough hype surrounding said player, they can go unnoticed and fall down draft boards.
This appeared to be happening to undersized Swedish defenseman Oskar Asplund, who was often seen as just a late-round pick at the 2022 NHL Draft at best. However, as more time has been spent looking into his production and play on the ice, you’ll quickly see a player who is deserving of more interest from GM’s around the league.
Related: THW’s 2022 NHL Draft Guide
While he may be a bit undersized by NHL standards, Asplund makes up for it with his hockey IQ. He sees the ice incredibly well and is able to make quick, confident passes to set up his teammates for scoring chances. He also knows how to keep himself out of trouble in the defensive zone, as he is rarely out of place.
Even if he still needs to develop his skating, his offensive toolkit is strong enough to make him a valuable prospect in the long term. If he can continue developing his game in Sweden, he could be a darkhorse prospect to break into the NHL.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Oskar Asplund – NHL Draft Projection
Projections vary wildly for Asplund. Some see him as a player who could get taken as early as the third round, while others wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t hear his name called at all.
If he were taller he would be a lock to get drafted, but due to the NHL’s obsession with size, I expect that to lower his value on draft day. Despite this, I still expect a team will take him in the fourth round, as his offensive upside is very apparent.
Asplund is an offensively-inclined distributor who loves to skate and pass the puck, and uses light edges to elude pressure, walk the line, and pivot into outlets. He identifies passing options early and does a fabulous job playing pucks quickly through seams or delaying until one opens up. Defensively, though he’s not particularly physical, he does a good enough job gapping up and/or breaking up plays with his stick to hold his own against pros and has clearly demonstrated an ability to control play against his peers.Scott Wheeler (From NHL Draft 2022 top 100 prospects: Scott Wheeler’s final rankings, The Athletic, Jun. 6thm 2022)
He is often well positioned and does not often get overplayed in his own zone. Asplund knows when to push forward or when to take a step back home from the offensive blue line. He is active with his stick and likes to put pressure on the puck-carrier. But there are a bit of a question marks about his physicality in front of the net and along the boards. Sometimes when he steps out to put pressure he could end up on the wrong side and he needs to be more powerful to win those battles.Fredrik Haak (From Oskar Asplund Game Report, FCHockey, Nov. 19, 2021)
Oskar Asplund is a 5’11” Swedish defenseman who spent most of the season in Sweden’s second tier pro league, the Allsvenskan. In fact, even last season he played 21 games for his Allsvenskan team when he was 16/17 years old. He started his season back in the U20 junior league, which he obliterated to the tune of 14 points in 8 games.Brigstew86 – pensionplanpuppets.com
- High hockey IQ
- Great offensive instincts
- Confident passes
- Controls the ice well
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
Asplund simply isn’t a physical defenseman. This is fine for now, but in order to reach the NHL, he will need to develop some physicality in his game.
Call me a believer, but I think Asplund has the toolkit of a future NHL’er. While his size isn’t ideal, there are plenty of smaller players breaking into the league every season. With his offensive upside, he could become an offensively-minded bottom-six defenseman who is a powerplay quarterback. Now this will take time, but for the right franchise, he could be a perfect fit.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 2/5, Reward 3/5