Lagesson spent his last two seasons playing for the UMass Amherst Minutemen, of the NCAA’s Hockey East conference, totaling four goals and 15 points in 63 career games at that level. He will spend the 2017-18 season on loan to Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Elite League (SHL).
Here’s what Elite Prospects had to say about Lagesson in 2014:
A strong defenseman that can put up some points, but plays more convincingly in his own zone. Likes to get involved in the rough stuff and has a pretty good physical game. Strong positionally, but could work some on his skating skills. (EP 2014)
And Here’s how C&B writers ranked him this offseason:
Reason For My Low Ranking
As you can see, I am a fair bit more bearish on Lagesson’s stock, compared to my fellow writers. My reasoning for this is pretty simple. I’m worried that a player who couldn’t produce offensively at the college level may have trouble moving the puck well at the pro level. Given his lack of production at Amherst, I couldn’t justify rating him higher than players with reasonable success under their belts in the AHL.
Lagesson will turn 22 this season, and he’ll do so while playing on loan over seas. This doesn’t seem like a great sign to me. one would think that, if the Oilers saw him as a NHL player in the near future, he would be spending the 2017-18 season in Bakersfield. However, I have my doubts he would crack the Condors’ lineup at the moment.
Reasons I Might Be Wrong
There are two factors that may be limiting my ability to properly rate Lagesson. The first of which is the fact that UMass Amherst was just awful last season. They only had two players average over half a point-per-game, and none of their defencemen hit double digits in total points.
Plus/minus isn’t the best way to judge players, especially in a 36 game sample, but Lagesson’s (-6) rating was actually tied for the best mark on the team, among regular defencemen last season. It’s pretty bad that this was the most positive stat I could find about Lagesson’s 2016-17 season, but, on the other hand, maybe that Minutemen team was just a really tough environment for a player of Lagesson’s skill set to put up impressive numbers.
The second reason I may be off in my ranking of Lagesson, is that his defensive skill set is almost impossible to quantify, given the stats available at the levels he’s played. I place a lot of importance on points for defencemen at lower levels, regardless of their supposed strengths, because I believe that NHL caliber puck-moving skills should manifest themselves in at least half-decent assist totals at lower levels.
This hasn’t been the case for Lagesson, but maybe his skills in the defensive zone can overcome an apparent lack of passing skill. Or maybe his passing is fine, and his sub-standard quality of teammates at Amherst is obscuring it.
There will definitely be some egg on my face if William Lagesson is an Oilers regular within the next couple of years. But, as of right now, I wouldn’t bet on it.