Photo Credit: Otto Marand / Djurgården
Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler
Liam Öhgren is a 2022 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from Stockholm, Sweden and is in the Djurgården system. Öhgren’s father, Andreas Öhgren had played Division 1 Swedish professional hockey in the 1990s. His brother, Noel Öhgren is a 2024 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who plays for Djurgården’s J18 club. In his youth, he played for Huddinge IK before joining the Djurgården organization in 2019. Since joining Djurgården, he has suited up for the club at the U16, J18, J20 and SHL level.
This season, he split his time between the SHL and J20. He led the J20 club in points and was second in total points for J20 NHL Draft eligible prospects. Frölunda’s Ludwig Persson led all 2022 NHL Draft eligible prospects in J20 play with 61 total points. Three points more than Öhgren.
On the international stage, Öhgren has suited up for Sweden at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and at the U18 World Junior Championships in Germany. His Hlinka Gretzky performance was quite strong and he managed to record four goals and three assists in five tournament games. He was also very impactful for Sweden at the U18s and his nine points in six games helped to secure gold for Sweden.
D.O.B – January 28, 2004
Nationality – Sweden
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –187 lbs
Position – LW
Handedness – Left
Öhgren’s Style Of Play
Öhgren’s reach is what makes him so good offensively. On the puck and off the puck. When he doesn’t have possession of the puck, he uses his reach well on the forecheck to successfully secure possession of the puck with a well-timed poke check. If he and an attacker are vying for a loose puck, he has the frame and the reach to grab possession of the puck if he is slightly further behind the attacker. It also allows him to get to the puck faster than his attacker. On the flip side, when he has possession of the puck, he uses his reach to swing the puck around attackers to secure the puck when he is trying to skate around an attacker to get to open ice. His reach allows him to stretch out puck placement and thus he can stretch the puck out a bit more when facing heavy pressure.
Not only does he possess excellent reach, but he is also equipped with excellent skating ability as well. I’ll touch on his skating more in the skating section, but it is worth noting that with his straight line speed, he can get to loose pucks at a good pace when going north-south. If he is a slightly behind the attacker on the way to the loose puck, he uses his excellent stride extensions to garner enough speed to get aligned with the attacker.
His straight line speed also allows him to create separation when he has possession of the puck and is looking to generate some passing lanes to utilize, but he has an attacker at his hip. With that speed, he generates quality passing lanes to dangerous areas and quickly makes use of them.
But, he doesn’t just have speed and reach in his tool belt when looking to generate puck separation, he will also use his frame to win possession of the puck. In situations where he doesn’t have clean possession of the puck and he has to go in rather tight quarters due to pressure, he can use his upper body strength to force his way to the puck and push attackers away.
The other tool in his tool kit that makes him extremely intriguing is his body language. Öhgren can use his body language to manufacture skating lanes for himself when in low danger areas. He will play the puck to his side as if he intends to shoot and then quickly cradles the puck from side to side and then skates around the attacker with ease as the attacker is anticipating a shot and not further puck movement. When skating into the slot with possession of the puck, he will use his body language to make it look like he is about to shoot which means that the goaltender is facing him and not Öhgren’s teammate at the backdoor. Then Öhgren will wire passes to the backdoor and look to catch the goaltender off guard.
When in control of the puck, Öhgren is a very quick decision maker. He will generate a lot of one-touch tape to tape feeds. At the NHL level, you need to be quick on your feet. If you aren’t quick on your feet, you will never be able to survive at the NHL level. You have to analyze on the fly. Öhgren analyzes on the fly. He also is quick on his feet. For instance, he when getting himself into position to generate a passing lane, he completed a tight 180 degree turn on a dime. At that point, he threw off the attacker in front of him that didn’t predict that Öhgren was going to turn, so he completed a lateral pass cleanly. Öhgren has a slick backhand pass in his arsenal and has generated many scoring chances using it. Check out the clip of him wiring a backhand feed to Noah Östlund in the slot. It’s quick. I’m telling you he is quick. Plus, he doesn’t need that much space to get the pass off cleanly. Ok, I’ll stop, so you can finally watch the clip.
As mentioned above, he doesn’t need a tremendous amount of room to get a pass off. For instance, he will look to pass until the attacker’s stick shaft (under the triangle) to teammates if he can’t net open ice to get the pass off through a truly open lane. That’s led to assists like the one below.
What makes Öhgren highly intriguing is his ability to net possession of a loose pucks and then quickly wire passes to dangerous areas. He’s shown that his ability on the forecheck can lead to instant success. For instance, I’ve watched him win possession of the puck in the corner and then he completes centered passes that lead to quality one-timer shots down low.
When on the forecheck, he has the speed and the active stick to target puck carriers along the boards. His active stick allows him to dictate where the attack goes with the puck. If he extends his stick to the right side, the attack goes left. He uses that to his advantage as that allows him to figure out what their next move and then he traps them. In situations where Öhgren is following the attacker, he will use his stick to tap the opponent’s stick shaft to intimidate and put pressure on the attacker in an attempt to slow them down. But, Öhgren doesn’t just target puck carrying attackers. He goes after non-puck carrying attackers too. Blindsides them by skating right behind them. When they collect a pass from their defenseman, Öhgren is there to cut them off.
From a goal scoring perspective, he will consistently put himself in a spot to succeed by utilizing his foot speed to generate separation that allow him to create quality passing lanes for his teammates to use. He has had success in low, medium and high danger ares. With attackers right on him, he still finds a lane to attempt wrist shots through. Pivots out and finds space. Just like his passing decision making, he is quick with his shooting decision making as well. Öhgren scans the ice quickly. He has understanding of his options and he doesn’t wait too long before he strikes. Not only is he quick with his shot, but he also has quality weight transfer that allows him to get a lot of power behind his shot. His weight transfer makes his one-timers difficult to stop. At net-front, he leverages his reach to shift the puck around the goaltender’s pad quickly in order to score a tip-in goal. His reach allows him to find a gap quickly.
In the offensive section, I raved about his reach. There is more coming.
His reach defensively makes him a pain to navigate around. His reach allows him to extend his stick out and take up quite a bit of room. Not only does his reach take up a look of room, but he also will use an active stick to manipulate where attackers go with the puck. He gives you the lane that he wants you to use. Öhgren extends his stick out towards center ice to force you to play to the boards.
When he is carrying the puck, facing an attacker head on and he wants to skate around the attacker to the right, but still manage to position the puck away from the attacker when cradling the puck to the new direction, he relies on his excellent reach to position the puck far enough out so that the attacker can’t steal possession. His reach allows him to create space for himself and paves the way for quality zone exits.
His vision and scanning ability comes in handy when he is surveying an attacker who is looking to complete a pass. With his vision, he can see an attacker passing and react to it by skating up to it with excellent lengthy skate extensions to generate quality speed, intercepts possession and then continues to lean on his excellent skate extensions to maintain speed as he brings the puck up the ice.
While he does have excellent vision and reaction timing, there are instances in which he gets caught puck watching and allows attackers to enter the slot when both defensemen are tied up. He should have dropped back to stay on the attacker. Even though there are instances that pop up in which he gets caught puck watching, as long as the attacker isn’t too far away, he can bail himself out with his straight line speed.
The other area in which I would like to see further improvement is his skating activation when looks to ignite the necessary speed to get himself in position to pick up the loose puck. His reaction timing and activation can be slow especially when completing a turn and he has to quickly react to puck movement. Öhgren is far stronger north-south than he is east-west.
Öhgren is excellent with the puck on his stick in the neutral zone. He loves to manipulate attackers by extending the puck towards them and pulling them in closer and closer. When they start to come towards him, he moves the puck in a different direction to catch them off guard. In situations in which the attacker stays glued to him at open ice, he will shift the puck with one hand to avoid traffic in the neutral zone.
In those situations in which he either completely runs out of real estate or he sees a teammate coming into the zone with speed, he will look to move the puck. Öhgren looks to deceptive drop passes to get the puck to his teammate who is coming in with speed.
But, he doesn’t just complete deceptive drop passes that allow Djurgården to maintain possession and keep the transition alive. There have been plenty of sequences in which he sees the zone exit through. For instance, he will skate up and pass to a teammate along the boards when he hits a road block at center ice. After moving the puck to a teammate, the pressure starts to move away from Öhgren and then he will gain separation to create a passing lane that will allow him to collect the puck again off of a pass from his teammate.
Öhgren will utilize his straight line speed consistently to find open ice in the neutral zone and create lateral passing options for his teammates should they get in a situation in which they simply can’t move the puck up the ice. His straight line speed will also pave the way for quality stretch passes from his defensemen.
Öhgren is defensively responsible when facing the rush. He will drop back for a defender playing too far up when there is a change in possession. Öhgren does an excellent job of using his stick to cause puck disruption. If he sees that an attacker is watching the puck as he controls it and seems very vulnerable, that’s when he strikes with a well-timed poke check. While a lot of wingers typically have a wait and see approach with defending the rush, Öhgren is extremely aggressive with his poke checking from the moment he gets into position in the neutral zone. He looks to cancel out oppositional zone exits and he thrives doing so.
Öhgren does an excellent job acquiring speed. He leans on his crossovers to do so. He consistently deploys lengthy crossovers to pick up speed. Öhgren’s crossovers allow him to net the necessary speed to get in position on the forecheck and allows him to generate the necessary speed in all three zones to get to loose pucks. When skating backwards, his crossovers allow him to gain enough acceleration to quickly skate from the defensive zone slot to the blue line to provide an outlet for his puck carrying defenseman.
When you dissect his straight line skating, you will notice that he has an excellent stride length that allows him to hunt for the puck and steal possession and he will use it to net separation when looking to create passing lanes. He maintains good lowered posture and has excellent ankle flexion. But, what I love about Öhgren is that he can spot the puck, determine how far he is and then he processes how many length skate extensions he needs to take before shortening up his extensions. He doesn’t over skate the puck by doing so.
He does a good job of blending crossovers and straight line stride extensions to get up to maximum speed. When activating his stride extensions from a stand still position, he implements a crossover and then gets a good push off of that initial crossover before using skate extensions to get himself to full speed. Even though he used a crossover initially when activating, he still will look to leverage crossovers when he needs a bit more momentum in his stride. With his speed on crossovers and skate extensions, he just needs a few of each in order to get enough space to beat the attacker to loose pucks on the forecheck in J20 play. Once he gets enough speed, he glides in and captures possession.
The area of his skating that needs a bit more refinement is his edges and activating off of a pivot. He does lean on edges to retain speed, but he struggles with adding speed off of the pivot. Ideally, he needs to be quicker when reacting to an attacker pivoting out and changing direction. He ends up completing a delayed turn and the attacker netted separation away from Öhgren. His activation challenges will also hurt his ability to grab a hold of loose pucks when puck movement alters and he has to react to it right after completing a turn.
Former Smaht Scouting Swedish scout, Mikael Holm is a big fan of Öhgren and has said repeatedly that Öhgren reminds him of Zach Hyman. I can definitely see it and he is spot on. Like Hyman, Öhgren plays an excellent two-way game that is translatable at the NHL level. With his speed and skill, I don’t think there will be a long wait before he is playing at the NHL level. He probably needs at least one season in the Allsvenskan before he is ready to make the jump.
In terms of projection, Öhgren’s tool-kit will allow him to be impactful no matter what line he is on. He is a Swiss Army Knife. You can plug him on the top lines and use him to hunt pucks down low on the forecheck. He will get those pucks and wire passes to the slot to drive production. In certain situations, you could plug him in a third line checking role, but I do believe that will slow down his offensive production as the forwards that he is with more than likely won’t be capitalizing at the same rate as the forwards on the top two lines.
May 26, 2022
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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