June 30, 2012

Development Camp Profile: Niklas Svedberg

By Kirk Luedeke & Jesse Connolly

Throughout Bruins Development Camp, NEHJ's Kirk Luedeke and Jesse Connolly will be profiling the participants. Today, they're looking at Niklas Svedberg, a 22-year-old goaltender the B's signed out of Sweden last month.

Kirk’s Scouting Report

Niklas Svedberg, G, Brynas (Sweden Elite)
6-2, 176  Sep. 4, 1989 in Sollentuna, Sweden
GP 29  MIN 1726 GAA 2.47  SPCT .912  SO 0
Drafted: Signed as free agent; May, 2012

Strengths: Technical, butterfly goalie has the height and long limbs that NHL teams look for at the position. Stood on his head during the Swedish Elite League (SEL) playoffs, leading his club to the championship with a 1.70 GAA, .947 save percentage and four shutouts in just 13 postseason starts. Late-bloomer as an undrafted free agent who used his fiery disposition and ultra-competitive drive to earn a chance with Boston. Quick pads, good glove. Mentally tough, with the ability to stop pucks at crunch time. As an older, more experienced player, Svedberg is ready to form what should be a solid AHL tandem with Mike Hutchinson in Providence.

Weaknesses: Average athlete; depends on positioning more than quickness and reflexes to be successful. Needs to work on reining in his emotions and not letting his temper get the best of him. Takes dives when contact made in the crease, which will not play well to North American audiences. Seen in some circles as a “one-hit wonder” who benefited more from the skill and depth of his Brynas club en route to the SEL championship.

Projection: Backup on a quality NHL club or fringe starter. Svedberg showed off an impressive performance down the stretch to earn an NHL contract, but he doesn’t have the athletic ability or pure upside Subban does. It will be interesting to see how well Svedberg transitions from the larger ice surface in Europe, but he adds depth to the Bruins organization and should stabilize the net in Providence while providing Boston with an emergency NHL option if injuries force the team’s hand.

Jesse’s Observations

With six goaltenders in camp, there’s been constant rotation between the pipes, giving none of the netminders an extended audition over the first two days. However, where Svedberg stands out from the other five – other than a set of pads that couldn’t have come from anywhere but Europe -- is his borderline robotic style.

Smooth, calm and composed, the Swedish netminder clearly relies on being technically sound, putting himself in the right position to make a stop. It’s a stark contrast to Malcolm Subban, who utilizes his raw athletic ability – notably his agility – in order to get a piece of pucks flying his way.

Svedberg has a reputation for getting a bit theatrical and losing his composure in the crease. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares in game-like scenarios when the campers take part in scrimmages on Sunday and Monday.

Asst. GM Don Sweeney Says

On if Niklas Svedberg needs to stand out based on his history…

Well, I tried to talk about that yesterday in terms of where guys are on a timeline so to speak. Ultimately, they’re going to dictate that as to when guys can play. If they stop more pucks, chances are they’re gonna play, no matter where they’re at.  

Now that being said, you’re sort of charting it along as I described with [Michael] Hutchinson. He’s going to push for a starting role in Providence and be the go-to guy there. Svedberg we expect would go down and challenge that based on the success he’s had in Europe and being a little bit older.

[Adam] Morrison’s going come in and say, ‘No no no, hold on, don’t forget about me because I’ve finished junior and I’m turning pro and I want to stop the puck as well.’ So again those are internal challenges we’re looking forward to. Lars [Volden] is making the next step over in Europe to the Elite League and that’s a good step for him as well. So short of where those guys start to merge is probably the question you’re asking as to if they arrive at the same time, then it becomes just about the competition aspect of the position because you can only have one in there at a time. Then we probably have to make some decisions. But those decisions generally come from what the players are providing on the ice and how well they’re doing.

On if he can tell if Niklas Svedberg’s development is ahead of some of the other goalies…

Well I mean obviously you hope so. You signed him and made him part of your organization. You feel like he’s ready for that challenge. There’ll be acclimatization and getting acclimated to North American hockey. There’s no question that that’s part of the exercise in making sure he was here and part of this camp.

Realizing that rinks are smaller and where the shots are coming from and such are just different. So that will be part of it and how quickly he responds to that. I don’t think he changes his style as a result of that. I think we like where he’s positioning in the net, but maybe I’ll have a better idea at the end of it after Goalie Bob [Essensa] kind of goes through and says, ‘Okay X, Y, Z’s gonna translate.’

Kirk Luedeke can be reached at kluedeke@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kluedeke29.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.