In their quest to acquire every Swedish born male who has ever had a fleeting thought about playing defense, the Minnesota Wild selected Gustav Bouramman 201st overall in this years draft. At first glance it's hard to imagine how a 7th round pick could crack the top Top-25 Under-25 in his draft year, but a closer look at Bouramman's skill-set and performance, reveal that the Wild have found a high-upside offensive defenseman with impressive elements to his game.
Bouramman is slightly undersized at 6' 0" and 183 lbs., but by all accounts is a high-end skater with impressive offensive instincts. In his first season with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Bouramman racked up 5 goals and 39 assists in 67 games, earning a spot on the OHL first All-Rookie team. An honor also earned by the likes of Aaron Ekblad, Olli Maata, and Nikita Zadorov over the past few years. While Bouramman is obviously not as highly regarded as those blue-chip defensive prospects, to even be in the company of those players indicates talent that exceeds his draft position.
Heading into the draft, consensus on Bouramman was hard to find. He was ranked as high as 35th overall by Craig Button of TSN and was 75th on the North American skater list by Central Scouting. Dan Stewart of Future Considerations listed Bouramman as a sleeper pick and had this to say about the Wild prospect:
"He skates effortlessly with the puck and can weave his way through traffic with no trouble. We like what he brings to the table and believe that he could be a very good player at the next level."
One would think that falling to the 7th round would indicate major holes to Bouramman's game but the most negative critiques I found were "not overly physical", and a need to improve his shot velocity. As a mainly offensive defenseman, his defensive game is still described as "strong" by Future Considerations and multiple outlets praised his poise and decision making with the puck.
With the departure of Darnell Nurse, it is likely Bouramman will step up to the top pairing for the Greyhounds next year and see considerable power-play time. We will get a very good indication of Bouramman's true talent after a full season playing in all-situations behind a strong Sault team, and hopefully he will make a significant jump in next year's rankings.
Bouramman's first OHL goal: