Perhaps the most interesting European prospect eligible for the 2010 NHL Draft is Ludvig Rensfeldt, the 6' 3" 194 lb center from Gavle, Sweden. Rensfeldt played with the Brynas Junior in 2009-2010, scoring 21 goals and 29 assists for 50 points in 39 games, while leading his team to a league title. Various scouting reports have compared him to Fredrik Modin, the 6'3" 218 lb left winger who plied his trade on Vincent Lecavalier's left side in Tampa Bay before moving on to Columbus and Los Angeles. It seems that the comparisons are based mostly on size, because Rensfeldt is a completely different player than Modin.
His Central Scouting profile has the typical tidbits that are used to make educated decisions about the player, things like his biggest influence, favorite meal and favorite website... so we have to look elsewhere to find useful information. Central Scouting says Rensfeldt is a left wing, but his Elite Prospects profile mentions that he's "...a skilled and creative center who also can play the wing." While Modin is a big winger, he's not renown for his high skill level, and has never been a center in the NHL.
Rensfeldt himself says that he strives to be "...a great, creative player that scores a lot of points and has a great shot." and mentions that he does not model his game on any one player, but he likes "...big players that score a lot of points like Anze Kopitar, Joe Thornton, and Johan Franzen."
The comparisons between Rensfeldt and Modin end at "big body" and "plays well on the boards". Rensfeldt plays "heavy" and is difficult to knock off the puck - he is the most effective Swedish puck-battler available in the draft pool. But he's more than just a big forward. He's good in the faceoff circle, uses his size to his advantage and he's an excellent passer with on-ice awareness.
The best rundown of Rensfeldt comes from Hockeysverige.se's profile of the big Swede. In it, Rensfeldt talks about his father, Per Ola Berggren, who is an expert in the field of sports psychology, an area that the Oilers have very recently begun to focus on. According to Ludvig, his father has written multiple books on the topic and lectures regularly. His clients include Johan Hedberg and Henrik Tallinder, and Ludvig mentions that his father helped Hedberg with his self-confidence. Rensfeldt also mentions that it's good to "...have someone to talk to..." when things go poorly.
Ludvig was also able to travel with his father while visiting Hedberg in Pittsburgh and Atlanta. He mentions that he follows the Penguins and Thrashers (though the Thrashers "...are a boring team..."), but he really has no favorite team in the NHL. After reading this interview, I wonder if Central Scouting made stuff up for his profile, or if Rensfeldt answered quickly to get through the questions.
Modin played his 19-year-old season for Brynas in the Swedish Elite League and registered nine goals and nine assists in thirty games or .6 points per game. Rensfeldt will make the move to Brynas' SEL team next season as he's been working out and practicing with the big club since the season ended. It's expected that he will have more of an impact that Modin did during his 19-year-old season.
The writer asked him when he thinks he'll be ready to play in the NHL, and Rensfeldt seems grounded about the work to be done, saying "...About three or four years I'll probably be ready for it. That is my goal."
Should the Oilers take Taylor Hall, they're going to need a play-making center to go along with him. Rensfeldt has been one of the highest-rated international players on nearly all scouting lists since the beginning of 2009. He's big, he plays the boards, he can score and he can work the corners. It's a solid pick for a team with a burgeoning Swedish element. Besides, it's always a good idea to have a guy named Ludvig on your roster.