2018-19 Team: Djurgårdens IF
Date of Birth: April 6, 2001
Place of Birth: Upplands Väsby, Sweden
Ht: 6’ 0” Wt: 202 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 7th (among EU skaters)
- Future Considerations: 45th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 17th
- ISS: 25th
- DobberProspects: 38th
- The Hockey Writers: 25th
Prior to this season, Tobias Björnfot was seen as a high first-round pick. As a 16-year-old playing in the SuperElit, he was looking very promising. He put up six goals and 22 points through 42 games, and many thought he would take a big step forward this season.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2019 Edition
That hasn’t been the case though, as Björnfot matched the point total, scoring 11 goals and 22 points in 39 games this season. Not improving on his point totals has seen him drop in many rankings, but the 18-year-old has improved his game overall, resulting in him being named the J20 SuperElit Best Defenseman in 2018-19.
At the 2019 U18 World Championship, Björnfot captained Team Sweden to its first-ever gold medal finish in the tournament. He collected just one assist in the seven games played but seemed to do everything else right. He made smart plays, great passes, he was solid in his own end and stood out on the ice with his skill.
His hockey sense is very high, and he’s already an elite skater. Those two qualities combined allow him to lead the rush out of the defensive end, transitioning the play quickly and effectively. He’s able to drive the play, make crisp passes and adds a quick, hard shot to his game.
Björnfot will be an impact defender on the team that drafts him, capable of being used in all situations. Whether he’s leading the rush, quarterbacking the power play or working the penalty kill, the young defender makes himself known on the ice.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Tobias Björnfot – NHL Draft Projection
Björnfot might just be one of the safest picks in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He’s a reliable two-way defender and is already a proven leader. Both of those are aspects that will be attractive to any team. Expect Björnfot to go late in the first round.
“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
“Sweden has shown off an impressive knack lately for developing smooth puck-moving defensemen, and Bjornfot is yet another continuation of that trend. After a regular season that saw him produce 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 42 games for Djugardens in the SuperElit he joined Sweden for the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship and did not look out of place, despite being a year younger than most of the competition.” – Derek Neumeier, Future Considerations
“Björnfot played the most minutes for Sweden, being leaned on in all situations, especially once they had injury issues. He’s not a highlight reel kind of player, but he skates very well, is smart and plays hard. He may have been the toughest defender to beat in the event with how well he closes gaps and maintains a good position on checks. His offensive touch is just OK, though, and I have some upside questions with him.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (From: “Pronman: Which prospects helped their draft stock at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup?” – The Athletic– August 16, 2018).
- Hockey IQ
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
While like many defensemen at this point in their careers, Björnfot needs to put on some strength. There’s also some defensive positioning to work on, but that will come as he continues to develop. The defender should end up being a top-four defenseman in the NHL after a couple more years of development.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 6.5/10, Defence – 8/10
At the international level, Björnfot is a leader in Sweden, usually wearing the “C.” In 2017-18, he won a bronze medal at the 2018 World Junior Championships and added a silver medal at this season’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He capped off the 2018-19 tournaments with the gold medal at the U18 World Championship. As mentioned, he was also the J20 SuperElit Best Defenseman for 2018-19.
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.