Welcome to the penultimate round of the 2016 NHL Draft where the picks are either long shots, hopeful diamonds in the rough, and/or some serious fallers based on various consensus. In the sixth round, the New Jersey Devils selected forward Jesper Bratt out of AIK with the one hundred and sixty-second overall pick.
My initial reaction is intrigue. His profile at Elite Prospects states that he was born on July 30, 1998, he's a winger with a left-handed shot, and he's 5'10" and 174 pounds. He's small and he's still 17. More importantly, Jesper Bratt graduated from AIK's youth system and primarily played in the Allsvenskan (not the SHL) in 2015-16. That's certainly good to see given that he's not even 18 yet and he played in Sweden's second league with the first team. I find that to be impressive. On top of being a part of Sweden's silver-winning team at the 2016 World Junior U-18 Championships.
Chris Dilks has a good profile on Bratt as far as what to expect at SBN College Hockey. The bad news is that he doesn't do well when the going gets rough on the ice and he needs to work on his defense. The good news is that he's got a heavy shot, a fast release to get that shot off, and he's quick. As he's a smaller winger, that's not exactly surprising to read but it highlights what he's good at and what he needs work on.
Jimmy Hamrin has a comprehensive scouting report on Bratt at Hockey Prospectus. I'm not going to copy and paste the whole thing as it has thoughts on multiple aspects of his game. I will cite his general assessment, but please read the post for the full scoop on Bratt.
Jesper Bratt is a great Swedish prospect with NHL potential but needs to get more effective to reach it. Bratt is the kind of player that is entertaining to watch and can really stand out in games. But when it’s all said and done he was "only" 13th in points on his team in the regular season and had no points in the post season. Sure, he played with and against grown men as a 17 year-old the whole season but in the U18 world juniors he was only ranked 7th in points on the Swedish team. There is no question that Bratt has great potential but there are yet question marks on how he will be able to compensate for his lack of size with his speed and skills to become a strong offensive player in the future. For the NHL draft I see him going somewhere in the second half of the draft.
Hamrin's guess turned out to be right in terms of where he would go. And it's a pretty good profile for someone picked in the sixth round. His skating is a plus, his physical play isn't, and Hamrin thinks he just needs to do more with respect to getting chances, getting shots, and so forth. I can agree with that. Last season with AIK, he had 69 shots on net in 48 games. That's an average of about 1.44 shots per game. With more ice time and another year of growth, Bratt should and could put up more shots - with points presumably following.
While AIK wasn't in the SHL last season, there are certainly highlights of Bratt putting in work with his team in the Allsvenskan. They come from, who else, bigwhite06:
From the very first highlight in the video, you can see that Bratt is fast, he's good at handling the puck, and he's a got a quick shot. It's certainly exciting. For a sixth round selection, I'm hopeful Bratt will turn out to be worth more than expected given where he was picked.
All the same, I welcome Jesper Bratt to the New Jersey Devils organization. I wish him the best of luck in his development within the organization. Now that you know more about the player, please have your say about the pick in the comments. Do you think it was a good pick or not and why? What do you expect this player will become for the Devils? Of course, don't forget to vote in our quick poll on the selection. Thank you for reading.