I can't believe it's already that time of year, but the NHL Draft is tomorrow! It has certainly been an interesting offseason so far for the NHL since the Stanley Cup Playoffs ended, but our New Jersey Devils have been relatively quiet aside from picking up a contract and an extra 2nd Round draft choice in 2018 for 2 prospects. I fully expect General Manager Ray Shero to make some noise at the draft, both with his selections, and with some other movement. As per making noise with a draft pick, would drafting Hugo Danielsson make that happen? Let's take a look.
Who is Hugo Danielsson?
Danielsson was born in Sundbyberg, Sweden on August 28 (Woohoo, shared birthday with the author!) 1998; he's already a good size for a prospect that is exactly 12 years younger than this author at 6'3" and 187 pounds. Hugo started his hockey career off Djurgardens system in Sweden before moving over to the Skelleftea AIK system. He's touted as being a shutdown-style defenseman, and looking at his full career stats courtesy of Elite Prospects, you can see that Danielsson is absolutely a defensive-minded player:
The above table does not lie: Hugo has never posted more than 5 points in a one league in a season no matter which of those leagues he was in or which club he was playing for. While our Devils are definitely a team that focuses on a strong defense, this past season showed that we need some offense coming from the back end, and Danielsson is definitely not the defenseman to look for in the draft is the team is attempting to address that issue in the future.
Where is Danielsson ranked?
For someone being pegged to go 97th in Round 4 to the Winnipeg Jets by Draftsite.com, Hugo has a lot of ranking data available on him. According to EP, NHL.com has him ranked as the 32nd best European Skater, ISS Hockey has him at #185 overall, Future Considerations has him going #154 overall, and Hockeyprospect.com has him going one slot above Draftsite's prediction at #96. For a guy being viewed as a late round pick, there's quite a spread there from early 4th Rounder down to early 6th Rounder.
What Others Say About Hugo Danielsson
Sticking with Elite Prospects, one of their writers (blurb has no listed author) had this to say about Hugo Danielsson:
A rather unspectacular defenseman. Danielsson does most things fairly well, however. Stands out a bit as he combines his size with a good skating ability. Is quite aggressive, especially around the crease and with improved strength, he should become an even more successful shutdown defenseman. Decent puck skills and passing game. Moves the puck fairly well.
The word "unspectacular" glares at me from this analysis of his game; while the writer goes on to be complementary of the fact that Hugo can do most things well, and that he stands out due to combining his size and skill, the initial descriptor just makes me feel like he's a dime a dozen defender. If that's the case, then there's no reason New Jersey should be spending a draft pick on him as there are quite frankly enough of those players in the league that we could pick up one that could contribute to the NHL squad right now for league minimum.
Aside from this scouting report, there's not much else that I could dig up on Danielsson, possibly due to where he plays, his current draft projection, or a combination of both.
A Little Video
From one letdown to another! Big apologies here folks, but there aren't any videos (at least that I could find) that showcase Danielsson; maybe it's due to him being "rather unspectacular" as EP put it, or perhaps it's because he just plays solid defense instead of making highlight-video worthy plays.
The one video that I did find is not a showcase, or even from a game, but rather an interview on Skelleftea's website where Hugo discusses the tough schedule the team faced. The website needs to be translated, and the video is in Swedish (sorry, no translation available for that), so the most I can say about it is that I like the kid's poise? Yeah, let's go with that.
An Opinion of Sorts
It's hard to forge a good opinion of a player based off of one short paragraph and without any video of him playing, but based on his stats, and where he is projected to go, I think New Jersey needs to pass on Hugo Danielsson and pass hard. We already have players who can do the things he can do in the system and the ones in our system for the most part have higher ceilings to boot. I just can't get that description of him as "unimpressive" out of my head; couple that with the fact that our late round picks could be better served to pick up "boom or bust" type players (remember Reid Boucher was a 4th Round choice) that might be able to put the puck in the net, and I just think that the Devils selecting Danielsson would be a huge waste of both his time and the team's. To tie back to my initial point, no, drafting Danielsson would not make noise.
Now I'd like to hear your thoughts on Hugo Danielsson; would you like to see him as a late round choice of our Devils? Have you been able to see him play or hear about his play and have anything you can add about his game? Are there any particular aspects of his game that stand out as something you like? Anything specific that you dislike? Do you think he will go closer to the earlier projection for his drafting in Round 4 or the later projection of Round 6? Leave any and all comments below and thank you as always for reading!