While the Devils’ pool of prospects has improved greatly over the past several seasons, they are still in need of more dynamic and disruptive players coming up at the forward position. Could Albin Grewe, a talented forward who plays with a major edge, be someone the team looks toward in the second round to fill their forward ranks?
Who is Albin Grewe?
Albin Grewe is a young power forward from Märsta, Sweden who split time between Swedish juniors and the SHL in 2018-19. Grewe has come up through the Djurgårdens IF system over the past few years, working his way through the junior ranks up to Swedish major juniors at 16 and then breaking through to Sweden’s top men’s league as a 17-year-old (albeit in limited minutes) this year. Grewe is best known for the tenacity in his game to go along with a solid all-around skill set. At 6’-0” and 182 pounds, Grewe is not necessarily a giant, but he’s big enough to make the bruising style of play he is known for effective.
Over the past several years, Grewe has bounced around through a litany of junior squads in Sweden (the hierarchy of which is a bit tough to decipher), first through the system of IFK Täby, then later with Djurgårdens IF. His numbers are spread across a ton of leagues, but for most of his stops through juniors he has scored at a strong pace, culminating in his 34 points in 25 games in the top junior league in Sweden, the SuperElit. Grewe did enough to impress to get the call up to the Djurgårdens IF big squad in the SHL, though he was held off the score sheet in the (reportedly limited) minutes he was given. He has also played in a host of international contests for Sweden’s junior teams, though his numbers there are a bit underwhelming. A full rundown of his stats via Elite Prospects is included below.
Grewe is a player who possesses skills that include plus speed and a good shot, but his calling card seems to be the way he looks to throw his weight around to disrupt opponents on the forecheck and all over the ice. The fact that he does this while also having a solid reserve of talent to back it up gives him major potential to be a [you-know-what]-stirrer at the next level. This definitely has its appeal and he fits a mold that the Devils don’t necessarily have in their system right now. The flip side of the coin is that while Grewe is said to have some solid skill and has produced pretty well in the Swedish junior ranks, there are some questions on exactly how high his ceiling is.
Where is Grewe Ranked?
Grewe has the attention of scouts and those who follow the draft, but he doesn’t quite break into the tier of likely first rounders. A sampling of rankings is shown below and there is something of a consensus around Grewe. Most rankings have him figuring somewhere into the upper half of the second round. He will likely be on the board when the Devils’ #34 pick rolls around and could potentially be around once pick #55 (via Nashville) rolls around if he slides a little bit.
- NHL Central Scouting — #13 (EU Skaters)
- Future Considerations — #34
- Elite Prospects — #28
- The Draft Analyst — #52
- The Athletic (Wheeler) — #40
- TSN (McKenzie) — #44
What Others Have to Say About Albin Grewe
There is a decent sampling of profiles out there on Albin Grewe and while they don’t march in lockstep on the evaluation of all of his skills, the all definitely paint a similar picture of what he brings as a player. We’ll start with a bit from from DobberProspects in their profile of Grewe, which sums things up on him pretty nicely.
Even though he’s not big, Grewe plays a power forward type game. He has a good shot, good puck-skills, good vision, and he’s a good skater. And most importantly, he works harder than most players on the ice. Currently, he’s able to combine that grinding power forward game with great offensive success at the junior level but it remains to be seen if he can do the same in the NHL. If he can, he could become a very valuable complementary top-six winger. But if he can’t, he can still have a very good career in the NHL as a bottom-six grinder.
This establishes the picture of the workhorse/power forward that you’ll see echoes through most of the evaluations of Grewe. He definitely seems to be a player that catches people’s attention in a good way during game play.
For more on that style of play we go to this profile from Uffe Bodin at EP Rinkside, where he includes a great quote from Grewe’s SHL coach on his game.
He didn’t put up any points during his brief stint as Davidsson’s stand-in, but his play warranted some high and rather unconventional praise from Djurgården head coach Robert Ohlsson.“Albin Grewe is the kind of player we haven’t had here for a while”, said Ohlsson. “With his approach, he’s going to be a physical force and a pain in the ass in this league. He sees himself as being in the top of the food chain. He’s a T-Rex, eats everything and has the approach the everything is beneath him.”
Even though a lot has been made of Grewe’s physical game, he doesn’t want to portray himself as a one-dimensional checker. 22 points in 16 J20 games this season reveals that there’s some more finesse to his game than the thunderous hits and the in-your-face attitude.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a coach call a player a T-Rex before, but I absolutely approve of painting players in colorful terms such as that (if Grewe pans out in the NHL, “T-Rex” has a much more fun ring as a nickname than “Grewesy” or whatever). It seems like high praise though, considering Grewe’s age, and it lends a lot of credence to the general consensus view that he has a good chance of making the NHL as a bottom-sixer, even if other parts of his game don’t continue to progress.
This profile from the site Prospect Pipeline provides a nice review of Grewe's game that takes a bit of a different tack, focusing on the skill set that complements the style of gameplay.
Not one to take a shift off and determined in his pursuit of the puck, Grewe is driven to generate offensive opportunities for his team each and every time he takes to the ice. A hard-nosed player below the goal line and not afraid to drive hard to the net, Grewe is willing to tackle the dirty areas of the ice in order to produce and isn’t intimidated by his competition regardless of their physicality or skill.
Being founded upon this extremely competitive nature affords Grewe with a great deal of confidence and creativity while in possession of the puck.
Adding to Grewe’s already impressive skill-set is his lethal shot — heavy and accurate, Grewe loves to shoot the puck and can fire it on net in a variety of ways.
So while Grewe has the reputation as a power forward, there is some major upside in his game outside of that narrow view. Multiple profiles praise his vision/playmaking and his skills with the puck. A good shot and some good vision to go with it have the potential to make him lethal on the forecheck. The Prospect Pipeline profile also includes some areas to improve for Grewe and the below quote focuses on the agility part of his skating:
While he is a competent skater, Grewe would prove to be a far more unpredictable player if able to improve his mobility as well as agility on the ice. If able to traverse the ice with greater ease and purpose, Grewe would keep his opponents guessing and his defenders on their heels given his suddenly evasive and shifty nature.
Continuing along, the profile from Bill Placzek at Draft Site, who based on his description loved Grewe as a prospect early but has cooled on him a little since, shows two sides of the evaluation coin. To start, he sings a lot of the same praises as others, including his intensity and playmaking ability.
Perpetual motion fireball of a wing with non stop speed, motion and intensity. Has terrific vision, compete level and seems to always come out of the high battle areas with the puck. Leading his junior team scoring by virtue of his skillful hands, his moves, and his abiilty to make successful passes in high traffic areas. His strong push on his wheels get him past defenders like he is bulling his way where he wants. Always moving in his low to ice stance, he dekes you, and makes time to thread the puck to an open teammate. Players like this are a nightmare to defend, and he still will score when double-covered.
That portion seems to have come from earlier, while this seems to be more recent:
Was once viewed as pretty near close to the late first rounder but things have cooled, although he still evokes memories of his energy laden gritty past performance. [...] There is no question that he has skills as a guy who can play fast, make deft moves and display solid stick work and start out strong on the puck on his way down low, but has been prone to overhandles. Needs to use his line mates more ffectively.Have a good shot and release but isn’t hitting the open spaces on the net. There is enough there to warrant developmental time.
So I think there is some evidence there to point to a guy who can wow people if he is on his game, but can fade as a factor if he doesn’t have the high motor going.
Finally, we’ll go to a recent update from McKeen’s on the 2019 U-18 Worlds, where they found Grewe’s performance a bit disappointing.
It was hard to find a disappointing player as Sweden had such a great tournament, but I believe most scouts/reporters had a higher view of Grewe than he showed. Sure, he displayed a lot of nice offensive hitting and physical play and he scored the game-winner versus Canada but all-in-all he didn’t get much offense going. He is a power forward with soft hands and the creativity and offensive drive was mostly lacking from him. He got a lot of power play time, but he couldn’t produce and had a hard time creating chances.
This dovetails with the indications elsewhere that his stock has slid a bit this season.
If you have a subscription to The Athletic, Scott Wheeler’s 2019 top 100 prospects list has a good synthesis of some of the other analyses. Essentially, there’s a lot to like about Grewe and his penchant for a physical game can make him stand out, but while his style seems to give him a high floor, he is a little bit of a project on some level.
A Little Video
There are a few highlight packages out there on Grewe, but this one from channel bigwhite06 really does a solid job of displaying what his game is all about. He is a player who can pass and score, but he can also be a monumental pain (literally and figuratively) for opposing teams with the way he throws his body around.
An Opinion of Sorts
Albin Grewe is an intriguing prospect for sure. Watching some clips of him, it’s easy to see why people are drawn to him as a prospect. He is not afraid to level people every now and then and he has some skills to go with it, though it seems his game could use some refinement and consistency. The league is trending toward guys who have high-end skill, but that doesn’t mean a prospect in the mold of Grewe doesn’t have his place. But while the league has evolved to an extent, there are plenty of players in the modern NHL who make hay with being a physical presence. The key is they have the skill to make it so that they aren’t a liability outside of that presence.
Grewe seems like he could be a player in the mold of Blake Coleman or maybe even a Tom Wilson. The risk with a player like Grewe though is it’s hard to tell how much of the skill he has shown at lower levels can translate once guys are a little better equipped to handle his bruising style. I think Grewe has some solid upside and I even think physicality is at risk of becoming an undervalued asset in some circles. That said, I’m not sure I’d want to see the Devils take Grewe until their picks in the later second at least, as I think some more polished prospects will still be available in the early second. If Grewe falls to 60 or 70 overall, I think he becomes a much stronger pick at that point.
What are your thoughts on Albin Grewe? Do you like the physical game he has the potential to bring? Do you think his skill is enough to make him effective at the next level? Where would you like to see the Devils take him? Do you like him enough at 34 to grab him there? Would you like to see him taken with one of their late seconds or third-rounders otherwise? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below and thanks for reading.