Editor's Note: Johan continues his series of interviews with the top Swedish prospects in the 2011 draft pool.
Today I'll take a look at one of the top Swedish prospects for the 2011 NHL entry Draft -- Joachim Nermark. Nermark, a center, led all teams in points at this summer's Ivan Hlinka tournament with 5G and 6A and is climbing the draft boards at the moment. I had a chance to talk to him last week. Nermark is currently ranked 24th overall by International Scouting Services and is listed as one of four 'A Players To Watch' in Sweden by Central Scouting.
#11 / Center / Linköping HC J-20
May 12, 1993
|2010 - Joachim Nermark||13||4||7||11||7||12||1||1||56||22|
Copper & Blue: You had a fantastic Ivan Hlinka tournament winning the scoring title. And it seems to have continued into the season. The last few seasons you've played extremely well but the points haven't been there. Why do you think it's come together this year?
Joachim Nermark: I've always played against older players throughout my hockey career, I've had tough competition and the points have been there. But last year with Leksand wasn't very good points-wise, I had to play left wing which is not my natural position and I didn't get the playing time I needed to produce.
It's great that I've done well for the National team both points and playing wise. But in the end it's about working hard, competing every day and winning games.
C & B: What would you say are your strengths?
Nermark: My biggest strengths are my hockey sense, my skating. Even when I'm not on my game, I feel that I play well. I thrive on responsibility.
C & B: What do you need to work on?
Nermark: I need to work on shooting more. I have a good shot, but maybe I don't use it enough. Of course I work on my overall game, but right now my shot is my main focus.
C & B: You've already sat on the bench for Linköping Elite league team and you have a decent chance of playing time if not this season then definitely the next. But what are your thoughts on playing in the juniors in Canada. Do you think you would benefit from playing on a smaller rink?
Nermark: I've had calls from teams in Canada and the US but I want to finish my education. I think it's important for every hockey player to experience playing on a smaller rink. I think it's good for your development because of the fast changes in play and the speed of the game. I love playing on the smaller rinks, we've been over with the National team and the style of play suits my skating and hockey awareness.
C & B: You've played both left wing and center, which is your natural position in your opinion?
Nermark: I'm a center, but I did play wing all of last season. But I do believe I get the most out of my play as a center, and it's where my heart is.
C & B: Most projections have you going in the first round. I understand that playing in the NHL is your goal; how do you think your style of play would work in North America?
Nermark: I think my style of play would work well. Of course there's a lot of things you need to adapt to, the fast ebb and flow of the game and it's more aggressive. But that's just fun!
C & B: Overall it's shaping up to be a very good Swedish draft. After playing with and against a lot of the other Swedish players, who do you think has the best chance of an immediate impact?
Nermark: There are a lot of great players, but to succeed you need to be ready for big changes, both hockey wise and socially. I think Landeskog whose already been through these changes would have a great shot. I also hope to be one of them.
C & B: Finally, most of our readers haven't had a chance to see you play. Could you describe your style of play and tell us about any player you model your style of play after?
Nermark: I don't try to model my game after a specific player, I play the game my way. But my role model since I was a kid has been Henrik Zetterberg. He's calm, cool, skilled and has a way of bringing out the best of his teammates.
I'm a good skater and a skilled player. People who know me says that I still play well when I'm not on my game. I'm a hard worker that truly wants to win. I like a high-paced style of play and playing with smart hockey players.
I would like to thank Joachim for taking the time to answer my questions. I will be checking back with him after the World Juniors for an update.