The draft, hands down, is the best time of the hockey season. Maybe I'm just saying that because the Wild haven't been seen post-season action since 2008, but that is besides the point.
The Wild hold seven picks this year, including the 7th overall pick. The last time that Wild had a pick this high was when the team selected Benoit Pouliot 4th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (the beginning of the Wild's awful draft record, as seen by our pal's inspiration for their blog's name...).
However, since GM Chuck Fletcher and Assistant GM Brett Flahr arrived, the team has started to see some promise. Some of these names include the Christ-like (or whoever you pray to) Mikael Granlund, Johan Larsson, Charlie Coyle and the recently drafted Jonas Brodin.
So, on June 22nd-23rd, we will all sit down in front of the television/computer and watch the draft. But if you are wondering, "who's who", then you haven't been reading HW because thats my job.
So without further ado:
Introducing our 2012 NHL #19 Draft Prospect - Pontus Aberg
Don't forget to check out the Hockey Wilderness 2012 Draft Page as well. Just click on the picture.
Left Wing / Djurgardens IF Stockholm
Mar 29 1994
|2011/12 - Djurgardens (SEL)
Accomplishments & Awards:
|2010/11||J20 SM Bronze Medal|
|J18 SM Silver Medal|
|2009/10||U17 WHC Bronze Medal|
|J18 SM Silver Medal|
|J18 Allsvenskan (Playoffs) Best Forward|
|2008/09||U16 SM Gold Medal|
Prospect Jersey (What Would They Look Like In a Wild Jersey?)
Summarized Scouting Report
A conscientious two-way player ... a lightning-fast skater ... good balance on his skates ... a strong, natural goal scorer who likes to shoot ... has a quick, heavy wrist shot and slap shot ... a good puck handler ... able to spin away from trouble ... good in tight spaces ... a very creative player ... blessed with very good vision ... someone who brings it every shift with a high effort-level
Not overly large ... his durability may be a concern unless he bulks up even more ... could use his teammates a little more
Top six two-way forward
Pontus Åberg - NHL Draft Eligible 2012 (via ThaAngelus1)
Where Does He Fit In The Wild?
He fits perfectly with the Wild. He has some great offensive skills, is a Swede, and has been playing in the men's league and doing quite well. All things the Wild like.
But at #7, I think there are better choices.
Started the year on fire, and then started to cool off. Still, he managed to do very well in his first year in the men's league, being a nominee for Rookie of the Year (along with Wild's Johan Gustafsson, and finally losing to Johan Larsson).
Sweden is pumping out some serious talent, and Aberg is a product of that awesomeness. He's a great skater with a dangerous scoring touch. He plays hard, tough, and is reliable in all three zones. Skill-wise, he doesn't have any flaws.
The problem is more about his size and his consistency. He doesn't possess a large frame and that raises concern if he can survive the rigors of NHL play. In addition, his cold second half of the season have some wondering if his hot start was just a fluke. Aberg didn't have a chance to show that it wasn't during the WJC because he was injured in the exhibition games.
Aberg doesn't have the physical tools to be a big contributor on the bottom two lines in the NHL, so he will have to bulk up and refine his game if he wants to be a top six forward. Because its either that, or bust.
Special thanks to HFBoards, Future Considerations, The Hockey Writers, TSN, OHLProspeccts and The Scouting Repor