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2021 Draft Prospect Profile: Oskar Olausson—A Pure Goal Scorer with Lightning Speed

Oskar Olausson could be everything the Devils are looking for in a shooter—but will he be available when the Devils are ready to pick him?

Sweden v Czech Republic: Preliminary Round Group B - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Who is Oskar Olausson?

The Swedish-born Olausson has developed somewhat away from the radar. He lit up the world juniors in 2019, scoring 11 points in 8 games, and then lit up his J20 league in Sweden in 2020-21, scored three goals in three games when he was brought up to the big leagues—the SHL— and then disappeared from the scoresheets. However this 6’2”, 180lb lefty winger has still made a name for himself for those who have been paying attention to his powerful shots and elite speed.

Where is he ranked?

What do the experts have to say about him?

The Positives:

“Olausson’s ridiculous season in the J20 Nationell (27 points in 16 games) is just one of several examples why he is considered a first-round candidate. He’s an excellent penalty killer and inside player who spent the second half of the season playing adults in [both] the Allsvenskan and SHL, where his dangerous speed and lethal wrist shot earned him respect.”—Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

“Olausson’s greatest asset is his skating ability, with speed to burn and the lateral mobility to weave through tight spaces. He has a good release, a decent one-timer from the half wall on the powerplay, and a keen sense of spacing in the offensive zone. He plays a heady game and uses his closing speed to be a disruptive forechecker, forcing opposing defenders into rushed passes and panicked dump outs. Olausson’s toolkit is well rounded and even if he never develops into a big-time offensive threat, he projects pretty safely as a reliable two-way winger at the NHL level”—Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects

“Olausson’s speed and mobility makes him a real threat at both ends of the ice. He has the ability to enter zones cleanly with control of the puck on his stick and difficult to contain on the cycle. He’s very fluid with his movements and when he’s on the attack, defenders begin to panic as he roars towards them upon entering the zone. He’s always in motion trying to find the open areas of the ice.”— Peter Baracchini, The Hockey Writers

“Olausson is an outstanding skater. He has a great first step and a nearly textbook-perfect stride. Olausson has outstanding acceleration and very good top-end speed....Olausson also has very good edgework and agility. His turns are crisp and he is able to change directions without losing much speed. Olausson is already strong on the puck...Olausson has an excellent array of shots. He can score with his wrist shot, snap shot, slap shot, one-timer, and backhand. His hands are quick and his shots feature a quick and deceptive release...Olausson works hard in the defensive zone. He comes back and supports the defence down low against the cycle game. He also provides effective backpressure against the rush. Olausson digs hard in the corners for loose pucks and keeps his opponent to the outside.”—Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports

“When he gets into stride it is such a sight to behold that you almost wish the rink was 400ft to watch him for longer. Olausson loves to carry the puck up ice. With his skating ability combined with soft, silky mitts, he has a mesmeric way of slicing through the neutral zone...Olausson, as one would imagine with his skill-set, is a serious power-play threat. Not only is he great at helping his team set-up, but once established in his favoured spot on the right boards he is extremely dangerous either walking in for a wrister, or sneaking over towards the circle for a one-timer. Like his skating, his shot technique is a thing of beauty, an efficiency of energy.”—Alexander Appleyard, Smaht Scouting

And the Negative:

“Olausson could be a better playmaker though. He doesn’t always make the right decisions with the puck. He can learn to move the puck quicker to open teammates. Olausson can sometimes hold the puck too long, skating into bad areas. When he does move the puck, its generally a short pass on the cycle game. He doesn’t try a lot of cross-ice passes... [Defensively] however, he struggles a bit away from the puck. Olausson can get caught flat-footed and lose the man he is supposed to be covering. There may be some aspect of puck watching and getting too focused on it and losing track of what is going on around him.”—Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports

“He has a tough time finding consistency and gives a different result each shift. There are times where he’s passive when pressuring the puck carrier and battling for the puck. Derek Neumeier from FC Hockey points out that his hockey sense and awareness is an area that needs improvement, as he tends to lose sight of his assignments at times. He does tend to relax in terms of his puck pursuit around the ice quite a bit and doesn’t utilize his frame as much as he should.”—Peter Baracchini, The Hockey Writers

Some Highlights:

Some Thoughts on Him:

Olausson is an offensive powerhouse. He comes equipped with slick hands, an absolutely blistering slap shot and deadly accurate wrist shot, speed and agility that lets him walk around defensemen like he’s at a petting zoo or keep up with any play, and a workhorse commitment to backchecking and helping out in the defensive zone, something also aided by his ridiculous speed. He is also effective on both the powerplay and penalty kill. He also has the size already, which bumps him way up the scouting list for a lot of teams, at 6’2”, 180lbs.

Now, as you read in the negative side of the quotes-: a playmaker, Oskar Olausson is not. To say this kid turns the puck over is an understatement. His ice vision needs bifocals. His attention to his positioning is also sometimes lax (let’s be realistic here— when is a winger’s attention to positioning in the defensive zone ever NOT lax?). Are these things that can improve with age, experience, and AHL-level coaching? Absolutely. He already has the things that are much harder to teach: speed, skill, shooting. He will, however, probably never be a playmaker—and that’s okay, because what he will be is something many teams, the Devils included, do not have much of: a pure goal scorer.

So, Should We Draft Him?

The Devils have been blessed with multiple talented offensive playmakers. Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, just to name a few. Most of our prospects are also of the playmaker/balanced style. We have very few triggermen in our system. With the Kyle Palmieri trade, we are left with Nolan Foote, and that’s pretty much it for shooters. Playmakers can definitely score on their own, but it’s been well documented throughout NHL history that they benefit from having a shooter waiting to pull the trigger after they dangle into position for the pass. Think Alex Ovechkin (okay, maybe not that good) or Patrick Laine. Or, as Smaht Hockey noted, Filip Forsberg, just minus a few assists perhaps.

The Devils do need a good goal scorer. We have too many setup men and no one to pull the trigger We also need someone who can shoot the puck on powerplays so I can stop screaming shoot at my TV so loud the neighbors call the cops, and help out on penalty kills. I’m sure the defense would appreciate another person who backchecks hard and fast—maybe its my inner defenseman talking, but I don’t think you can ever have too many of those kind of players.

I think the question of should we draft him in this case comes down more to ‘will he be available’. Olausson’s draft rankings are all over the map. Some like Elite Prospects and Dobber Prospects have him going as high as 13th overall. Most have him going somwhere in the early 20s. The Devils second first-round pick is going to be late— probably in the 30s. Is there a chance Olausson falls down that far? Absolutely. Sam Cosentino doesn’t predict him going at all in the first round.

If he is available when it’s the Devils turn to draft late in the first round, I say let’s pull the trigger on this triggerman.