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2020 NHL Draft prospect profile: Daniel Torgersson needs to use his size more

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The Swedish winger is a scoring threat in the minors, but will need to change his role if he wants success at the next level.

Frölunda HC

Last year, five of the 217 players drafted played for the Frölunda organization. In 2018, they were the developers behind Sweden’s first number-one selection since Mats Sundin. The year before, three Frölunda players were chosen within the first two rounds.

Since the new millennium, a whopping 67 players have been selected after playing for the Gothenburg giant. With this year’s crop, they will bring their grand total up above 70. Perhaps they will even reach that magical number before the end of the first round.

Among Frölunda’s previous selectees, apart from Rasmus Dahlin, are the likes of Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Lundqvist, Erik Karlsson, Robin Lehner, Loui Eriksson, Michael Schumacher, John Klingberg, Andreas Johnsson and Lars Eller.

In 2020, Frölunda’s most prized possession is named Lucas Raymond. He will, in all likelihood, be selected in the top 10, maybe even in the top five. Following in Raymond’s footsteps is centreman Theodor Niederbach, who’s been riddled with injuries but has middle-six potential. Now, we will round out our coverage on the Frölunda talent pool with their third possible first-rounder of the year; big-bodied winger Daniel Torgersson.

Birthplace: Hönö, Sweden
Date of birth: Jan 26, 2002
Shoots: Left
Position: Winger
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 205 lbs.
Team: Frölunda HC J20 (SuperElit)

While Raymond and Niederbach are more the playmaking types, Torgersson is first and foremost a goal-scorer. Playing his first full season on a supremely talented SuperElit team, he ended up in the league’s top five for goals scored and is right now projected as a guy who will receive frequent call-ups to SHL in 2020-21 (he’s already seen one game on opening weekend).

Elite Prospects

He got a handful of SHL games even last year, but demonstrated then that there is a significant leap between Junior hockey and the pro league. Torgersson had issues adapting to the higher pace and looked physically uncomfortable, being unable to make good use of his large frame. Nevertheless, it’s not exactly unprecedented for an 18-year-old to look lost while playing against seasoned veterans for the very first time.

In the minors, Torgersson has impressed with good skating ability and by being difficult to remove from the puck. You could call it puck control if you’d like, but mainly it’s just him being difficult to move for other SuperElit-defencemen. Once he gets up and running with the puck on his blade, he’s like a freight train on the loose.

Will that power translate when his opponents suddenly are closer to his size? He has started the 2020-21 season off by playing next to Niederbach on Frölunda J20’s top line, with highly touted 2021 prospect Fabian Lysell being their Aramis on the first power-play unit:

As most prospects raised in the Frölunda system, Torgersson is an intelligent player who works well in both directions. Similarly to Artturi Lehkonen, you can bet on the offensive upside, but if that doesn’t work out you at least know that you’ll have a bottom-six winger who can be relied upon in all areas of the ice.

Even though he scored 26 goals in 39 games the previous season, Torgersson is not a particularly impressive shooter. His mechanics are cumbersome and and he has a slow release. With that being said, once he gets some time alone with the puck, he knows how to beat a goalie. His high scoring numbers derive largely from terrific accuracy.

He doesn’t project to be a great tank of a power forward at the pro level. At the senior stage, he should instead utilize his smartness and size to create havoc in the crease with tap-ins and redirects, thanks to his great positioning skills. It would be beneficial for him to excel in those areas and become more of that physical menace, since that would make his future career development less dependent on him improving his shooting mechanics.

Rankings

Elite Prospects: #31
Future Considerations: #70
Hockey Prospect: #37
McKeen’s Hockey: #114
McKenzie/TSN: #53
NHL Central Scouting: #13 (European skaters)
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): #77

He has been a steady riser on draft boards since the winter. A draft report I read from mid-March had him going between the third and fifth rounds. Since then, he has gained many supporters. He has been heralded by Elite Prospects as a fringe first-rounder, while Hockey Prospect has ranked him as an early day-two pick.

It all comes down to what you project Torgersson to become. I see a hockey player with less overall talent than his foreign equivalents John-Jason Peterka and Roby Järventie, but one who compensates with adaptability and hockey sense. Ultimately, this will make him better suited for a bottom-six role than both Peterka and Järventie.

HockeyProspecting

There is a good hockey player mould here, even if he is more puppy than Rottweiler at this point. So far, he has been a threat at every level. If you look at his goal-scoring statistics, especially from younger days, they were nothing short of extraordinary. There is no doubt in my mind that Torgersson will become a good SHL player in the future.

If he adds more of a physical element to his game, I can definitely see him eventually turning into a solid NHL scorer with added utility as a special-teams contributor. Just have realistic expectations on what you’d be getting out of him. Expect him to be a reliable coach’s favorite type of guy and then use him as a complementary piece on offence.

If you do your due diligence on Torgersson, you might end up with a steal. If you don’t, you might end up reaching for a kid with limited offensive potential toward the end of round one.


For more intel on Torgersson and his teammate, Theodor Niederbach, please listen to Patrik Bexell’s interview with Frölunda’s head coach Roger Rönnberg in The Dispatch below: