Photo Credit – HV71
Given the talent he possesses it is a surprise that Oskar Olausson has not got more column space in the lead-up to the 2021 draft. Part of that might simply be due to him being a 2002 born player. Therefore his only major international tournament was the 2019 Hlinka, where he was the youngest skater on the roster and buried on the fourth line. Furthermore, a strong Swedish forward class including peers such as Fabian Lysell, William Eklund, Simon Robertsson, Isak Rosén, William Strömgren and Oliver Moberg means that Olausson has got lost in the mix at times.
Additionally, at the domestic level he was shuffled between the HV71 J-20 and J-18 teams in the last two seasons. He was good for his age at both levels, and given his role on the J-20 team last season his 0.76 points-per-game was admirable. Nevertheless, many 2021 draft rankings so far fail to include Olausson in the first round.
It is a fair bet that that will change quickly in the coming months. Not only has the Stockholm born winger had a great start to the season – lighting up the J-20 with 14 goals and 27 points in 16 games, and now holding his own in the SHL – but he has a skill-set to make scouts salivate.
D.O.B – November 10, 2002
Nationality – Sweden
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Weight –181 lbs
Position – Left Wing/Right Wing
Handedness – Left
Olausson’s Style Of Play
The four S’s of scouting are the foundations that virtually every prospect either needs, or needs to have the potential to develop, to one day become a good NHLer. Skating, speed, skill and smarts. Olausson ticks all of those boxes already. And if on a true alliterative bent his shot and strength are also abnormally well developed for his age.
Explosive is an understatement with the HV71 winger. After a growth spurt at 17 he went from 6’0 to 6’2, adding close to 20lbs, without losing any of his skating ability. He is one of those players who would have excelled in whatever sport he chose to play. A true athlete who looks “natural” in almost everything he does on ice. When he gets into stride it is such a sight to behold that you almost wish the rink was 400ft to watch him for longer.
Olausson loves to carry the puck up ice. With his skating ability combined with soft, silky mitts, he has a mesmeric way of slicing through the neutral zone. It is not hyperbole to say that he has the confidence and stride up ice that mirrors NHLers such as MacKinnon, Voráček and Wheeler.
Once he gets into the offensive zone he has a whole bag of tricks that he can utilise. If he gets a defenseman one on one he loves to cut towards the slot, deke them inside-out, and use his wicked release to challenge a goalie. When a defenseman manages to maintain his gap and keep him to the outside Olausson has the edges to try and beat them up the boards and cut back in to get in close on the goalie. If that is not an option he is adept at rolling round the net, losing his man and keeping the cycle going.
He also creates havoc when handing off the puck after effecting an entry. As he then starts to work his own brand of magic in terms of making his 6’2 frame “disappear” in the slot and getting free to unleash a quick one-timer when the puck comes back to him.
Some have slotted Olausson in the “complimentary winger” category, or questioned his hockey IQ. While he can be guilty of holding onto a puck for too long, and he is certainly a shoot first player who needs a play-making center to be at his best, I think it is unfair to pigeon-hole him like that. His zone entry skill, ability on the cycle, and solid passing mean that he can create space for others. He also has the scorers knack of getting free in dangerous positions, and does it with regularity. That is hard to do that without thinking the game well.
Olausson, as one would imagine with his skill-set, is a serious power-play threat. Not only is he great at helping his team set-up, but once established in his favoured spot on the right boards he is extremely dangerous either walking in for a wrister, or sneaking over towards the circle for a one-timer. Like his skating, his shot technique is a thing of beauty, an efficiency of energy.
So where are the downsides here? While strong for his age he will – naturally – need to fill out his frame more. Also, he will have to utilize his team-mates better and not try as many home-run plays as he progresses. Olausson, however, is very well-rounded for his age.
Defensively he is not what I would call the “instinctive” type. But he plays the game at a high tempo and works hard inside his own half of ice. He is good at turning pucks over and forcing mistakes, and has also proven to be a solid penalty-killer. In his brief SHL career so far he has had some lapses in his own end, and I doubt he will ever be a high-end defensive player, but he will likely never be considered a liability.
Olausson is the type of player that it seems likely NHL scouts will fall in love with. In turn could end up going a lot earlier in the draft than many have pegged him to. If he continues to develop he has the potential to be a 30 goal, first line winger.
Filip Forsberg, Left Wing, Nashville Predators
Olausson is not quite as physical as his older Swedish counterpart. But there are other aspects of their game that mirror each other. Both have great shots and skating, are brilliant at effecting zone entries. The two would also both rather fire the puck than defer to a team-mate. They both shield the puck exceptionally well on the cycle and are dangerous on the rush, with hands and confidence. The two also share the ability to find space in danger areas. They also both play the game at a high-tempo, and can be effective penalty-killers. Forsberg is a slightly more natural play-maker though.
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Alexander Appleyard. If you would like to follow Alex on Twitter, his handle is @alexappleyard.
Looking for other scouting reports? Check out the Prospects tab for our other scouting reports.
Need a scouting report on a particular prospect, contact us today!