Q: Which team will extract the most value from their late first or early second round pick?
A: Whichever team selects Jonatan Berggren.
With Berggren, there is a huge disagreement between actual talent and perceived skill. Despite having the skill level of a top 15 pick, Berggren is typically situated in the late first round of the majority of draft rankings.
After a marvelous performance at the #U18Worlds Jonathan #Berggren can suddenly be found in the first-round of #NHLDraft rankings 3 out of 4 times. Fittingly, he was profiled on the last prospect podcast of @TheHockeyNews, too. #Rankings #dataviz pic.twitter.com/9p17fdD0xp
— le_affan (@le_affan) May 12, 2018
As you can see in the image above, Berggren didn’t crack the consensus first round until January, and just a single service featured had him in that area at the time. It wasn’t until May that the Swedish forward was a first round fixture, helped by a fantastic U18 tournament that saw him score 13 points in 13 games.
Berggren deserved to be a consensus first rounder long before the U18’s. He was incredible all season long for Skellefteä AIK in the SuperElit, the top junior circuit in Sweden, posting 57 points in 38 games. When adjusted for league and age, that is good for 7th among all draft-eligible skaters. The Swede also boasted the top INV% and 5v5 PR INV% (INV%: the percentage of team goals that a player recorded a point on – 5v5 PR INV%: the percentage of 5v5 team goals that a player recorded a goal or primary point on) of all first year draft-eligible skaters.
In fact, Berggren was actually so good that he managed to earn a call up to the big club in the Swedish Hockey League, a men’s circuit. He played 10 games there, an impressive feat for a 17-year-old.
Berggren is a spreadsheet standout, but don’t worry. He also passes the eye test with flying colours. At 5’11, 183 pounds, Berggren isn’t a physcial force. In fact, physicality is widely considered to be his greatest weakness. However, Berggren can still find a way to be absolutely dominant. A small, speedy and skilled forward, Berggren commonly draws comparisons to Vintor Arvidsson, and those comparisons are 100% accurate. Similar to Arvidsson, Berggren is incredibly skilled and speedy, but can be overlooked do to his small stature.
Will Berggren manage to put up 60 points a season like Arvidsson? It’s possible. His combination of speed, soft hands and playmaking ability will make him a constant threat offensively.
Gif from @KPapetti
His skills are on display in this gif here. Berggren uses his speed to create seperation from the backcheckers and push the defensemen back further than is ideal. By the time Berggren reaches the defenders, they are caught flat footed, due to stop to avoid crashing into their own net after Berggren psuhed them back so far. Once they are in this position, Berggren is able to split the defensemen with ease and scores a beautiful goal.
It is his speed that creates this golden opportunity, but Berggren also possesses the hands and finishing ability to capitalize.
Let’s watch some more video.
This clip right here is a fantastic demonstration of just how fast Berggren is. He absolutely blows past the opposing defenders, creating more than enough seperation to go in on an uncontested breakaway despite being even with the opposition at their blueline. The ability to achieve seperation of this kind is a very effective offensive tool, and it allows Berggren to create time and space to put his other tools to work. His wheels can also create space for his teammates, as seen below.
We’ve now watched three videos. In those three clips, Berggren has scored twice and played an essential part in another. Absolutely none of that would have been possible without his speed.
In hockey, speed can be an incredibly dangerous weapon, and it’s only become more important in the modern NHL, where speed and skill is the name of the game. Berggren possesses blazing speed, and he knows exactly how to use it. Not only to create breakaways and other opportunities for himself, but also for his teammates in the form of time and space.
The Swede possesses a nice set of skills to compliment his speed, including good vision, passing ability and soft hands, but it’s his feet that drive the bus.
Jonatan Berggren has a 100% Likelihood of Success (via https://t.co/EBzQKw3dtV), meaning that every one of his comparables played 100 NHL games under team control. The only other two draft-eligible prospects with a full 100% are Andrei Svechnikov and Oliver Wahlstrom.
— Sam (@DraftLook) May 21, 2018
With his skillset- and that kind of Likelihood of Success- Berggren appears poised to skate himself to NHL success.
All gifs are taken from videos from the Youtube channel Swedish Hockey Prospects unless otherwise noted.