The later rounds of the draft are reserved for projects, long-shots, ne'er do wells, and those kids that supposedly don't have the speed or size to make it. In charge of only the last two drafts as Head Scout, Stu MacGregor has done some admirable work in the late rounds, snagging a couple of kids that are already beating expectations -- Teemu Hartikainen and Olivier Roy. In the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Oilers have one pick in the fifth round and three picks in the sixth round. One of those picks should go towards the biggest (in a number of different ways) project among this year's prospect class - Viktor Svedberg. Svedberg is a 6'9" 223 lb. defenseman currently striking fear into the hearts of all Swedish Juniors for Frölunda in the under-20 league. He's the size of a mountain, as the silhouettes to the right show, but his game has yet to catch up to his body. Central Scouting's final rankings had Svedberg ranked 22nd among European defenseman, and 76th among all European prospects.
I went to our go-to guy on all things Swedish Hockey, Jimmy Hamrin of http://blog.st.nu/tikare/, a Timrå IK-centric blog that covers the SEL. According to Jimmy, Svedberg is essentially the definition of a project:
A really big 19 year-old defenseman -- Chara-sized. He´s really hard to judge at this stage in his career. If he makes it to the NHL, he´d probably come over as a late bloomer due to the problems with coordinating his big body on the ice. But I´ll say he's a pretty interesting prospect for a late round. He moves well under the circumstances and has pretty good stick-handling. He´d probably be more successful on the smaller rink as well.
Given Jimmy's description, Svedberg seems ideal for a longshot pick late in the draft. The Oilers have multiple picks late and this seems like a natural fit. If he moves well and has some skill with the stick, there might be a player bubbling under.
According to the Swedish site Hockey Magazine, his game took a massive step forward during the 2008-2009 season while playing with the Rögle Juniors team. After that season, he moved back to his hometown of Göteborg to play for Frölunda.
Elite Prospects, the HockeysFuture of Europe, describes Svedberg in much the same way that Jimmy does:
A giant with incredible reach. Svedberg is among the very largest players in Swedish hockey today. A two-way defenseman in the Swedish junior league, but likely to develop into a more defensive-minded type of player in the future. Skating and mobility is not impressive, but not as bad as someone would expect for a player of his large stature. He has average hockey sense, but decent enough positioning. Plays the body to some extent, but gets penalized a bit too much. A project that could turn out well if he continues to work on his mobility. Pretty active stick.
Svedberg is going to fill out and it's likely that he'll add add about 25-30 pounds. Any prospect that can skate and brings Zdeno Chara and Tyler Myers' size is going to eventually garner interest. From the two reports that we have, Svedberg has a solid positional game, adequate stickwork, plays a physical game, and has enough hockey sense. The only concern is mobility and Jimmy seems to think that a smaller rink will help Svedberg to be more effective in that area. Considering his ranking by Central Scouting, it's possible that his skating is more of an issue than either of our reports let on, but this is a kid only deficient in one area of his game - he's perfect for one of those late rounders that Edmonton possesses.