Round 2, Pick #41: Robert Hagg, Defense, MoDo (Swedish Jrs.)
Hometown: Uppsala, Sweden
Birth Date: 1995-02-08
Weight: 201 lb
27 Games Played, Modo Hockey Ornskoldsvik (Elitserien)
2 Penalty Minutes
**For NHL: Central Scouting Rank: 8th Amongst European Skaters
Pro Comparison: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Hagg is quite well known in his native Sweden due to his presence on their international teams. While playing with MODO's U20 team, he scored 24 points in 28 games before moving up to the Swedish Elite League. He is more of an offensive defenseman but has some defensive skill as well. His real strength is his stickhandling as he has excellent puck control.
He does have a knock for being rather inconsistent, however. Hagg has shown flashes of brilliance in the Elite League but has not shown an ability to maintain that brilliance. He is young, however, and these are the sorts of problems that can be fixed with age and coaching.
A 6-foot-2, 203 pounder with a left-handed shot, Hagg had been projected as a potential first-round draft pick and didn’t put much thought into falling down the draft board.
“Yeah, well it’s just a number,” Hagg said. “I’m just happy to be in the organization like the Flyers. I’m gonna take the opportunity to take a jersey on that team.”
“He’s capable or being dominating at times and as he develops his game, he could find himself in a top pairing playing in multiple situations,” Craig Button, a scout for Canadian television station TSN, wrote in a draft profile for tsn.ca.
Hagg was ranked the 12th best prospect in the draft by The Hockey News, the 31st best prospect by International Scouting and the eight-best European skater by Central Scouting.
Hagg spent last season playing for Modo Hockey’s Under 20 and Swedish Elite teams. He had 11 goals, 24 points and 28 penalty minutes in 28 games for the Under 20 team, 1 assist in 27 games for the elite team while being coached by former Flyers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson. He also represented Sweden in the World Juniors and scored a goal and 4 points in 5 games.
Scout’s take: “A very interesting prospect, Hagg has very good two-way potential and stands out most because of his ability to skate with the puck,” says Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. “He can be risky but also has a strong shot and is always a dangerous shooting option from the point. He needs to be more consistent defensively and improve his transitional skating on the defensive side.”
“Robert Hagg is one of these players that has the ability to change the complexion of the game,” adds David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “He’s very methodical. He’s very patient with the puck and he can do a lot of things with it. He’s got an absolute bomb of a slapshot and he can control the pace of the game.
Hagg is a really gifted defenseman who progressed as the season went on, going from the junior league to playing in the SEL although his performance was up and down throughout the campaign. Hagg has a real easiness to his game. He is a high-end skater, possessing an effortless stride and quick acceleration. He appears to glide when he is on the ice, with a high amount of offensive ability. He makes quality rushes, and he displays great puck movement in every zone. He is not a flashy puck handler, but he has good subtle hands, with the ability to make open ice maneuvers. He has a big shot from the point, and several NHL sources indicate that he frequently relies on that asset. Scouts are divided on Hagg's defensive play. One thinks it is his best asset, while another calls him a very well-rounded player, and yet others say his defense needs work. From my assessment, I do not think he is an exceptional defensive player. He is quality in his own end, but he does make the odd bad decision here and there. Still, there is a lot to like about Hagg. He has a great hockey brain, mobility, and solid physicality.
Robert Hagg is the best Swedish defenseman in this year’s draft class. He’s looked at as an all-around 2-way defenseman who can lay the body, but also put up points at a solid rate. Hagg is a guy you can hang your hat on to give it his all every shift on the ice. He’s been able to mix his scoring touch and defensive awareness together to make him a prized candidate on June 30th, 2013.
Hagg can lead the rush up ice and makes a quick (and accurate) first pass out of the zone. His skating is a premier asset and has been instilled in him since a very early age. He changes directions quickly, makes quick, agile movements, and always seems to be in position. He doesn’t get noticed much, which is a pretty good thing for defensemen. That means he makes very few mistakes with the puck on his stick.