The Winnipeg Jets have selected David Gustafsson with the 60th pick in the second round of the NHL Draft. Gustafsson is a 6’2″, 196lbs, Centre that spent the 2017-18 season with HV71 in the SHL.
Gustafsson’s ranking was all over the map coming into the draft. Canucks Army had him listed as the 27th best player in the draft which would indicate he could turn into a steal. However, when looking at some of the other rankings, he was a lot lower. Bob McKenzie ranked him 64th, while Hockeyprospect.com ranked him 106th.
One of the reasons Gustafsson’s ranking is not consistent is due to his playing style. Gustafsson is a big body that is known for his defensive prowess. A great faceoff man, he should fit well with what the Jets like down the middle.
Scouting services have a tough time rating defensive players because their numbers aren’t as good, but the limited sample sizes make it tough to distinguish how well the defensive aspects actually are.
This is not to say Gustafsson only plays defense. His numbers against his own age were great, but he was still able to score some goals when playing against full grown men in the SHL.
Gustafsson played some of the season with the HV71 junior teams, but showed he was too good for his own age and got moved up to the SHL. In one game with the J18 team, Gustafsson had two goals and two assists. The organization then moved him to the J20 team where he scored one goal and four assists in four games. When moving to the HV71 senior team, he finished the season with six goals and six assists in 45 games.
An interesting note as well is that Gustafsson played some of the season with Jets fourth round pick in 2016, Jacob Cederholm who played ten games form HV71 as well.
So where will Gustafsson fit in? Being a natural Centre that is great at faceoffs will be useful in the future for the Winnipeg Jets. Looking longterm, Gustafsson could fit into a third or fourth line shutdown role. If Adam Lowry keeps taking steps forward and improves his offensive game, Gustafsson could become the new defensive centre in three or four years. This was a solid pick by Cheveldayoff by getting a player that fits the organization and also getting a player that was ranked quite highly by a number of different outlets.
Very well spoken teen. Raved about watching #NHLJets playoff run on TV. Teammates with fellow Jets prospect Jacob Cederholm in Swedish Elite League team where he played this year as 17-year-old. He’s signed for 2 more years there. #wfp https://t.co/io4H7gnbju
— Mike McIntyre (@mikemcintyrewpg) June 23, 2018
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