When the Canadiens made a trade with the Jets to acquire a seventh-round pick in 2016, and used it to select Arvid Henrikson, many were left wondering what he would bring to the table. He was relatively unknown at the time, but the most important aspect of his potential was that he was identified by European scout Christer Rockström. Yes, the same Rockström that discovered Nicklas Lidstrom for the Red Wings.
Of course, seventh-round picks rarely pan out, but when someone adept at finding hidden gems suggests he’s worth a flyer, you take the chance.
Here’s what the hockeyprospect.com Black Book had to say about the AIK’s defender before the draft:
Henrikson has good size and gets around the ice reasonably well for his frame. We liked his competitiveness and the physical game in his own zone. His positioning in front of his own net is quite good as he consistently looks to clear the crease-area. He knows how to position his body to push and keep forwards to the outside and is good at tying up their sticks. He tracks the play well and keeps good gaps in his own zone. He has played well on PK utilizing those same assets and also clears the zone with authority, making himself quite useful there. In our limited viewings his first pass was rather average and he didn’t exhibit a lot of offensive upside.
Henrikson will attend Montreal’s rookie camp and tournament later this fall, and is quite excited for his second taste of North American hockey.
”I am so looking forward to come back to Montreal. It will be even better and more interesting to play games against other rookie teams, but also to practice with players that are on another level compared to what I am used to.”
As for what awaits him, he knows that it won’t be easy, but looks forward to the learning experience. ”It will be a challenge but a challenge I will cherish. As an example of the challenge: practicing against players such as Lehkonen, who had an amazing playoff run”.
Henrikson attended Montreal’s development camp earlier this summer, and noted a few players that stood out.
”Michael McCarron was a good player, Mikhail Sergachev was very good as well. But when it comes to pure skill it was Martin Réway and Charles Hudon that stood out, but I am not sure Hudon will be part of rookie camp.”
AIK U20’s team starts their hockey season on the 13th of September, and it’s uncertain whether or not Henrikson will be part of the opening night squad squad. But for AIK to let a player head to North America and be part of rookie camp is a classy move, especially towards the player. AIK will benefit from it too, in that Henrikson should gain confidence, and access to other coaches might bring his play to another level.
In this particular case, Henrikson will most likely come back to Sweden motivated to succeed on a bigger stage.
I’d like to take a moment to thank Arvid for answering our questions in a timely manner, and wish him all the best on his future endeavors.