Photo Credit: Leksands IF
The name Emil comes from the Latin aemulari, which means “trying to equal or surpass”. That is fitting for the man from Leksand. Hailing from a large hockey family, he has three elder brothers who had hockey careers – including eldest brother Lars Lundin of QMJHL pedigree – his cousin Olle Liss is a senior Swedish international, and his other cousins Arvid and Eric Eljas played alongside him on the Leksands IF J20 team last year.
But it is not only his own blood that he has spent his teenage years trying to equal or surpass on a hockey rink. Despite an impressive 1.41 P/GP in the J20 last year, playing 11 SHL games, and being over P/GP for the Swedish u-19 national team, Heineman’s name has been lost in the mix in a marquee year for Swedish forwards. He is an afterthought for many after Raymond, Holtz, Gunler, Nybeck and Niederbach, and in a strong draft year is slated to go in the third round.
D.O.B – November 16, 2001
Nationality – Sweden
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Weight –185 lbs
Position – Left Wing
Handedness – Left
Heineman’s Style Of Play
As for his game? Like many Swedes, Heineman already plays a North American style. It is one thing that jumps out right away. He relishes getting into the danger areas around the slot and net, and has a real knack for finding space with no defensemen near either on the rush or on the cycle. His two-way game is also well-developed, and his relentless puck pursuit, diligence in his own zone, and ability on the boards are things all NHL scouts love to see.
He is also well developed both athletically and physically. His skating is powerful and refined in all aspects. Not only does he have great edges, but a good burst and fantastic lower-body strength. It is not unusual to see him protect the puck at speed, accelerate away from defensemen, and watch attempted hits bounce of him all in the same shift. Heineman is also not afraid to get involved physically, and will throw a good hit when he sees the need to, as well as get scrappy with defenses when battling for position.
His best purely offensive tool? His shot. Not only does he have high-end awareness in regards to finding space in close, but he has a quick, accurate release that can take advantage of that ability to punish opposition teams. Heineman has one of the best one-timers of any junior aged player in Sweden, and can also get shots off at full speed with aplomb. The result of this combination was 26 goals in 29 games in the J20.
So, with all that said, why is Heineman not up there as a guaranteed top 50 pick? The fact of the matter is that while the man from the shores of Lake Siljan is well-rounded, with all the skills you want for a modern-day NHL winger, there is certainly a limit on his up-side.
He is not an overly skill-full player. Plus, despite a great release he is not going to continue shooting at over 30% at a higher level. His goal-count this season was unquestionably propped up by such an unsustainable shot percentage. Playing alongside Nils Åman, a great play-making pivot who will have a long pro career himself, also helped. Additionally, his play-making and vision are simply “decent”, and as one of the older, more physically mature players in the draft there might not quite be as much room for growth as with other players with a similar skill-set.
But don’t let that put you off Heineman. If he hits he will be a fantastic third line winger who may well be capable of playing up as a third wheel on a second line. His scary shot, two-way game, grit and relentless puck pursuit are attributes that are exactly what any team would want from a future depth winger. He could be a good pick in the back-end of the second round.
Michael Grabner, Right Wing, Arizona Coyotes
Heineman does not quite have the skating of the Austrian speedster. He is also not the level of PKer he is either, but their games overall align well. Both are good two-way players who cause havoc with great forechecking. Neither are scared to get to danger areas, and regularly win board battles. The young Swede also has a knack of turning pucks over to create breakaways and 2v1’s like his Austrian counter-part. Like Grabner, Heineman’s shot far eclipses his play-making and hands. However, the Swede is arguably better at getting space for himself in the offensive zone to get shots off.
Stats from EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Alexander Appleyard. If you would like to follow Alexander on Twitter, his handle is @Avappleyard.
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