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2017 NHL Draft prospect profile: Lias Andersson’s skill is undeniable

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Andersson is one of the top prospects available in the draft.

Sweden v Canada: Semifinal - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Lias Andersson started the season with Sweden’s HV71, there for a first taste of top-league experience. Most people that follow hockey in Sweden knew that he was someone to keep an eye on, but at the end of the season he was an integral part of the SHL’s championship team.

He has hockey in his blood. Both his father (Niklas) and uncle (Mikael) were NHL players, and he has grown up in locker rooms in North America and Sweden.

Birthplace: Smögen, Sweden
Shoots: Left
Position: Centre/Left Wing
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 192 lbs.

Andersson can play both centre and left wing, and the first thing you’ll notice is his tenacity. He will hunt the puck for eternity, and in all three zones. This is helped by some excellent skating technique. He isn’t afraid of going into the dirty areas of the ice and playing a physical game. He has soft hands, shown when tipping in shots, getting rebounds, as well as sending defenders into the stands with a deke.

As a typical Swedish player, he is defensively aware, making sure to help his defenders out and being ready to pounce on any loose puck available, using his vision and skating to great advantage. Having played 84 games with HV71 over the last two years and scoring 24 points (13 G, 11 A), all during the last season, Andersson has already proven he can play on the big stage.

While many were surprised that Andersson choose HV71 over Frölunda when coming out of junior hockey, he himself said it was due to wanting to make his own name rather than always be connected with his father and uncle; both integral parts of Frölunda legend. Andersson choose to sign with Frölunda after the championship had been celebrated with HV71 this season.

Rankings

Hockey Prospect: 12
Future Considerations: 13
ISS: 25
Central Scouting service: 3 (European skaters)
McKeen’s: 17
Bob McKenzie: 13
Craig Button: 18

Thoughts

Lias Andersson is projected to go somewhere between 10 and 20 in this year’s draft, and being projected as a second-line centre it could be worthwhile for Montreal to move up to grab him in a trade, maybe by using some of the extra picks that they have in later rounds.

There have been a few rumours in Sweden saying he might leave for the CHL, specifically the Kitchener Rangers, at the start of next season. When I asked people in the Frölunda organization, they seem sure that he will stay in Sweden and the SHL for the upcoming season no matter where he goes in the 2017 Draft.