Thread: Pre-Game Talk: 2013 NHL Entry Draft Talk
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01-05-2013, 02:43 AM
  #304
thefeebster
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Okay, I have very tediously watched all 29 games Alexander Wennberg has played in the Allsvenskan. And here are my thoughts...

The first thing that jumps out to you is how smart he plays. That's what has gotten him into Allsvenskan at this age and what has helped him work his way up the line up. He is a cerebral kind of player, in the same sense the Sedins are (Not saying he's as good as them in any case). He is willing to battle along the boards, can fight for the puck and wins a fair amount of the battles there, but i'd still say some strength to those bones would go a long way. On the main boards, he is known as the Russian Swede, and i can see where they get that from. He is an effortless skater who can accelerate quickly when he wants to and slip away from opposing checks, can stickhandle in a phone booth and does that often to get out of trouble on the PP. A very slick player. He has good passing vision but also has a quick snapper which is deadly when he is in front of the net and also seems to find loose pucks in front of the net.

He started on the 4th line, then has slowly worked his way up the line up. He didn't see any special teams until the 12th game of the season, mainly got 2nd PP time. Then around the 20th game, he was getting some sparse PK time and 1st PP time. By the 26th game, he moved from the wing to center. He looked fairly good on the dot for such a young guy and i felt he looked better as a center than a winger. It actually suits his game much more being the guy high while his wingers battle for the puck. He is great at dishing the puck on the rush, so it works. By the time he left for the WJC, he was playing a ton of minutes plus special teams. What i admire is that he really made the most of his opportunities in the beginning of the season, gained his coaches trust and is now heavily relied on for offense and in all situations. What I am excited about is that he has really progressed from the beginning of the season to where he is now and he is still progressing.

Some stats: In his last 11 games, he has 7 goals and 5 assists for 12 points. For the youngest player on his team, thats's darn impressive against men. I would say he has played better than both drafted forwards on Djurgarden (Aberg and Sorensen).

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Also, watching him led me to watching Burakovsky. I'm not sure what's happening with him there, heard rumblings of a trade to Frolunda sooner than later. But he isn't getting much playing time when I watched (sometimes benched for the entire 3rd period) and from what the swedish posters are telling me, it isn't the coach not playing young guys as he's been playing a 16 year old regularly. But i found Burakovsky rather ineffective. You can see the tantalizing package, he looks huge on the ice and can skate well. But beyond that, he didn't generate much offensively, but he did look good on the boards. And his line was hemmed in a couple of times. Currently, from what i've watched, there is nothing to tell me this guy is a 1st round pick, much less a top 15 pick where i've seen him ranked. It seems like its all based on potential right now and not on his actual play. And I hate drafting based on potential that is not supported by performance.

If i had to rank the top swedish forwards right now: Lindholm, Wennberg, De La Rose, Burakovsky.

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