2018-19 Team: HV71 J20
Date of Birth: May 24, 2001
Place of Birth: Tranås, Sweden
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 193 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 27th (among EU skaters)
- Future Considerations: 24th
- ISS: 49th
- DobberProspects: 58th
- The Hockey Writers: 46th
- TSN Craig’s List: 46th
Despite starting the season ranked as a high first-round pick, Simon Holmström may not even get picked until the second. But what’s interesting is that his drop in the rankings has nothing to do with his skill. Holmström suffered a series of injuries, including a hip surgery in the offseason before 2018-19, a broken thumb and a concussion that sidelined him for a large portion of the season.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2019 Edition
He missed a lot of crucial development time in his draft-eligible year, so teams may be wary Holmström is injury prone or has had his development compromised. Only time will tell if he is in fact injury prone, but looking at his play when he was healthy, it seems as though the forward is on track in his progression.
Holmström played 21 games with HV71 J20 in the SuperElit, scoring seven goals and 20 points. He was also a plus-seven. Then in the playoffs, he was a point-per-game with a goal and three points. He also played three games with HV71 J18 in the J18 Allsvenskan, getting a goal and four points, adding another goal and three points in five playoff games. Finally, he played one game with the SHL’s HV71, without scoring a point.
Considering how much time he missed at two different points in the season, those are impressive numbers. He stuck close to a point-per-game no matter where he was. That even continued internationally at the U18 World Championship. Holmström was a star on Team Sweden, helping the team to a gold medal with his three goals and six points in seven games.
If Holmström played a full season, it’s very likely that he’d be a lock for the first round. That’s largely due to the smart decisions he makes with the puck, his borderline-elite playmaking abilities and the vision he has on the ice. He’s also a good skater but needs to find that top gear at times. Overall in his play, the good definitely outweighs the bad.
There’s so much to like in his game, yet Holmström may end up as one of the biggest fallers in the 2019 NHL Draft. Teams will take into consideration just how often he was injured, and he might end up going later than many think. But if it turns out he just had a bad year for injuries, he could end up as one of the biggest steals in the draft.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Simon Holmström – NHL Draft Projection
It seems that many scouts and teams are hesitant of Holmström due to the small sample size in his draft-eligible season. However, his play when he was healthy was good enough to keep him right on the bubble of the first round. It will be very interesting to see where he goes, but I think he’ll hear his name called in the early-to-mid second round.
“Holmström is a very skilled and smart winger. He makes a lot of smart decisions and finds options consistently well. With HV71, Holmström was often used in their setups to make plays from behind the net, and he did so very well, finding players in high-percentage areas in a variety of ways. He has slippery skill, and while he won’t often go end-to-end, he can get through defenders and have the odd impact shift with his skill. Holmström competes well. He’s not overly physical, but he engages defenders well and will battle for space. His skating is fine. He can show the odd burst where he turns defenders, but his overall pace is average.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (From: “Pronman’s 2019 NHL Draft Board: Top 107 prospects” – The Athletic – May 21, 2019).
“He is an explosive skater, with superb acceleration and quick first steps with the puck. He also has both the hands and head to make good use of his speed and quickness, he can handle the puck very well, and find creative ways to make plays while skating at high speed. The combination of his smooth hands, creativity, and mobility make him a dangerous player in 1-on-1 situations, if he is left with some room to accelerate Holmström can be close to impossible to stop for a sole defender. A downside with his flair and will to create scoring chances is that Holmström at times makes unnecessary and risky plays with the puck that results in turnovers, instead of making a simple and higher percentage play and keep the puck possession.” – Christoffer Hedlund, EPRinkside
“Holmström is an excellent playmaker from the wing. He has very good vision, and he can make crisp passes. He also has a great shot which makes him a dual-threat. He’s a very talented skater who combines speed with agility. Holmström could be a faller in the NHL Entry Draft because of the injury concerns. But if he’s still available in the second round, his upside is definitely worth a selection there.” – Jokke Nevalainen, DobberProspects
- Decision making
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
Holmström is a very interesting pick, as he was high on many draft rankings prior to his injury-plagued season. If his injuries were just bad luck in one season, he could become a top-six winger. If they have slowed his development or become the norm for his career, a top-six player is probably pushing it. There’s definite upside with Holmström, but there’s also a big risk for the team that drafts him.
Risk – 4.5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8/10, Defence – 7/10
In 2017-18, while playing with the HV71 J20 in the SuperElit, Holmström finished his rookie season leading all U17 players in points (30). He also helped the team to a championship title. This past season, he helped Team Sweden to a gold medal in the U18 World Championship.