With the 16th pick of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Buffalo Sabres have selected Noah Östlund from Djurgårdens IF J20 of the Nationell
About Noah Östlund
Östlund is one player that might be flying under the radar as he doesn’t get more attention compared to his teammates Jonathan Lekkerimäki and Liam Öhgren. But trust me, he should. Östlund is just as dynamic of a player as they are as he does a good job at pushing the pace of play with his speed and smarts. He’s responsible on both sides of the puck, but when he has control of the puck, he’s an extremely crafty playmaker with soft hands and the ability to find his way to the middle of the ice.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Live Tracker
Östlund was an offensive threat every time he was on the ice in the Nationell. He finished the season with 42 points — 33 of which were assists — in 32 games, being well over a point per game. He was also instrumental in helping Sweden capture gold at the World U18 Championship where he finished fifth in tournament scoring with 10 points.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“One of Östlund’s many strengths is his speed and pace of play as he constantly burns opposing defences with it. He also possesses quick hands and a strong work ethic, which is no surprise as most Swedes have that particular latter quality. He also has the vision and playmaking skills to set up his teammates for goals as he currently has the second-most primary assists (16) among draft-eligible players in the J20 Nationell trailing only Alexander Suzdalev who has 19. If you want some evidence of his slick puckhandling and stick skills, just take a look at this clip from warm-up before a game back in February. He shows amazing hand-eye coordination as he juggles the puck with his teammates looking on.
“Like most great playmakers, Ostlund knows how to create space for himself and chances for his teammates as well. He just seems to know where everyone is on the ice despite the limitation of having only two eyes. If you didn’t know any better, you would think he had them all over his body with the passes he makes sometimes. Coupled with his insane hockey IQ and play anticipation, he makes anyone who plays with him an instant threat. All they have to do is get open with their stick on the ice and he will find them. Without the puck, he’s smart too as he supports his linemates defensively and gives them a passing option to get them out of trouble.
“Despite Ostlund’s wealth of hockey IQ, vision and playmaking skills, scouts have become concerned about his lack of high-end offensive skills when it comes to scoring goals (again like Henrik Sedin). To become a true first-line center that is feared not only for his passing but also for his goalscoring, he has to start executing plays himself more consistently. If he starts doing that, look out, because he will be a threat to hit 100 points a few times in his NHL career.”
How This Affects the Sabres’ Plans
The Sabres are continuing to get rich with talent and having a deep prospect pool. They have Owen Power making the transition to the NHL, Jack Quinn is making great strides after a dominant season in the American Hockey League and now you can add Östlund to that list of strong prospects. He’s an extremely crafty playmaker with soft hands and great speed with a very underrated shot to go with his strengths. He needs to add some more muscle, but the upside is there for him to be a strong puck distributor in the NHL.