Photo Credit – Nathalie Andersson
It was somewhat of a surprise that Albert Lyckåsen was not drafted last year. While his production at the Swedish junior level as an 18-year-old was nothing to write home about – 16 points in 44 games for the Linköping u-20 side – there were a lot of other positive indicators of an NHL future. Firstly, he was not a regular on the first power-play unit at that level all season. This was due to 2019 2nd rounder Simon Lundmark playing half the season at that level, which restricted his scoring. Additionally, the blue-liner from just outside Stockholm had been a Swedish junior national team regular since age 15.
As an over-ager this season, he made more heads turn than last, even if he is still a real “sleeper” pick. He was the second top scorer for defensemen in the J20 (after Emil Andrae), with 36 points in 43 games on a team that was quite defensive minded. He also top-scored for Sweden at u-19 level, with six points in just four games.
But what stood out more than anything over the last two seasons is his skill-set. There is a real argument to be made that his tools are that of a player who should be on everyone’s draft board, and not just as a potential late round steal.
D.O.B – July 29, 2001
Nationality – Sweden
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Weight –187 lbs
Position – Defense
Handedness – Right
Lyckåsen’s Style Of Play
His game is built around effortless, smooth-skating. Not only is he agile, but he can drive up ice with speed, walk a blue-line with ease, and keep up with rushing forwards even after he has pivoted to face them and skate back-wards. But Lyckåsen is not just a figure skater either. He has the mentality of a modern-day blue-liner. He loves having the puck on his stick and jumping into the rush. When there he thinks the game well, and has the hands and vision to provide chances for himself and team-mates. His creativity really flashes at times. Not many players in J20 created space on ice better than he did last season. While his shot is not going to wow anyone in terms of velocity, he reads lanes very well and as a result can cause havoc simply by getting his shots through with regularity.
He also runs a power-play well at the junior level, though don’t expect him to in the NHL. He is no elite offensive talent, but he can create. His chops past the blue-line make you think it is possible for him to be a capable top four producer in the NHL.
In terms of his play in his own end Lyckåsen does need some work. Though even still he is far from poor defensively. While not afraid of physical play, and he has a broad frame, he sometimes does get beaten on the boards and around the net.
His play at the blue-line has all the hall-marks of efficiency at a higher level though. Generally, he keeps a good gap, has an active stick, and is not scared of making a play and trying to send the puck the other way. At times he can overcommit here as a result, but it is not a major issue. Similar words can be said about his pinching and aggression going up ice. The intent is good, and it usually comes off, but it can result in high danger plays the other way. Going forward he simply needs to figure out how to pull off such plays at a slightly higher percentage than he currently does. With a few small adjustments and improvements Lyckåsen could easily be a plus defensive player at a pro level.
Overall, for a player that was un-drafted last year and appears outside many publications top 200 skaters for this draft this report may seem to highlight very few issues. Why? Because Lyckåsen has almost certainly been simply over-looked by many. In terms of his skill-set he is a player who has top 100 talent, and if he reaches his full potential could be a solid NHL number four down the line. Smooth-skating, righty defensemen with some offensive chops are a valued commodity in the NHL, and someone may well be getting a steal if the Bålsta native is still around after the fourth round.
Sami Vatanen, Right Handed Defenseman, Carolina Hurricanes
The young Swede does not quite have the offensive talent level that his Finnish counterpart possesses. However, there are many other aspects of their game that are similar. Both are undersized puck-movers with great skating, jump, and some real tenacity to their play. Poise at the blue-line is a hall-mark for both. They also share very accurate shots that might not win any hardest shot competitions, but can nevertheless cause damage by getting pucks through. Defensively they both have active sticks and like trying to break up plays at the blue-line. Lyckåsen is stronger given his age and stage in development, and has the potential to be more “polished” in his own end than Vatanen if he reaches his potential.
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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