Rasmus Andersson has been a Canucks Army favorite for a while now, first popping up in an article penned by Josh Weissbock in one of our early pieces on prospect success, and then again on a piece I wrote about the high success rates of players like Anderson who had shown success in the top leagues in Sweden at a young age. At the time, Andersson was a consensus late 2nd to 3rd round pick, but he’s rocketed up the rankings after a very strong finish to his first OHL campaign with the Barrie Colts.
I’ll break down one of the better offensive defensemen who should be available in the later half of the 1st round after the jump.
- Age: 17.87 years old at start of season. Born October 27, 1996.
- Birthplace: Malmo, Sweden
- Frame: 6’0, 212 lbs
- Position: D
- Draft Year Team: Barrie Colts (OHL)
- Accomplishments: 2015 CHL Top Prospects Game Participant, 2015 OHL Second All-Star Team
|GP||ES G||ES A1||ES A2||ES Pts||ES Pts/GP||ES GF%||ES GF% Rel||TmG%||TmPts%||AA Pts/GP||EA Pts/GP||Adj Pts/GP|
- TmG% = Percentage of team goals a player scored in that player’s games played
- TmPts% = Percentage of team goals a player registered points on in that player’s games played
- AA Pts/GP = Age adjusted points per game
- EA Pts/GP = Era and league adjusted points per game
- Adj Pts/GP = Age, era, and league adjusted points per game
|PCS% 2014||PCS Pts/82 2014||PCS% 2015||PCS Pts/82 2015|
|PCS Most NHL GP||PCS Highest Pts/GP|
|Glen Wesley||Robert Murray|
|Brad Stuart||Drew Doughty|
|Stephane Quintal||Mario Marois|
- PCS = Our Player Cohort Success model. Click here for more information about PCS.
From Todd Cordell, HockeyProspect.com:
Rasmus Andersson is an excellent puck mover on the backend, as he consistently makes an accurate first pass, and is capable of rushing the puck up ice if given space. He doesn’t have the most fluid looking stride, but he gets around the ice pretty well. He’s an excellent power play QB, and excels in getting pucks through. His defensive game could use a bit of work, but there’s nothing coaching can’t fix.
From Anthony Mauro, www.DraftBuzzhockey.com:
Rasmus Andersson took the leap to CHL hockey off of a notable Allsvenskan draft year campaign and fell on draft rankings (93 in CSS NA alone) – so go figure. Undeservedly falling while basically Ekblad-ing the Colts with .96PPG, he performed to his pre draft year limitation showing he could lead with offensive minded charisma. Always a stout, good skating D, he showed overall competence missing mastery as a scoring option. At Barrie, he was committed to being a great point man and stepped up as their number one puck mover. His skating is razor sharp, getting every inch of his blade on the ice and looking able to adjust to any directional change coming at him. His linear speed lacks, as does his pickup. His intelligence is high, as is his leadership ability, which is likely because he has been a top prospect for a while having SuperElit experience dating back to 2011-2012. A late October DOB with settled physical featueres, a perceived downside could be he is close to a finished product. Andersson has a good skillset with the potential to show he can translate completely to higher levels of play utilizing his feel for the game.
An offensively active defenceman who works a power dynamic; he is able to win battles against larger opponents through outworking them, and is able to skate with the speediest of smaller opponents. Responsible defensively, but decision making does need some work. All-in-all, an intelligent, hard-working defenceman that is constantly alert in all three zones and willing to do battle with any and all opponents.
Andersson is an extremely unique player. Only a handful of defensemen in Swedish history have played full time in Allsvenskan (Swedish second division) in their 15 and 16 year-old season, which is a testament to his extremely high skill level. He adapted quickly to the CHL, and was consistent offensively throughout the course of the year.
He’s been a huge riser on the draft boards with year, with both Craig Button and Corey Pronman now projecting him as a first round pick, while others still have in the second or third round. 28th overall would be fair for Andersson, but if he would be an absolute steal if he slides into the second or third given his demonstrated ability to produce in both Canadian junior as well as Allsvenskan.
Rhys previously profiled Andersson in depth, writing the following about the long time Swedish top prospect back in early May:
It’s not often that a guy plays in the CHL after a year of professional hockey already under his belt, but that’s the situation that Barrie Colts import D Rasmus Andersson finds himself in. Andersson played in the Allsvenskan as both a 15-year old and 16-year old, carving out an impressive pro career for a teenager in one of Sweden’s top leagues. Andersson tallied 11 points in 38 games in 2012-2013, before modestly improving his output to 13 points in 43 games as a 16-year old in 2014-2015.
While his high-end offensive game transitioned smoothly to North American ice, Andersson struggled away from the puck at times this season. Corey Pronman made notes of his concerning “off-puck reads, up-and-down effort levels, being too aggressive offensively, and habit of getting beat with speed at times.” Even so, OHL scout Todd Cordell believes that Andersson’s defensive warts are “nothing coaching can’t fix”rather than a fatal flaw that will limit his upside.
And man, does Rasmus Andersson have a pretty compelling upside. He led all first-time OHL draft eligible defensemen in scoring, tallying a total of 64 points in 67 games. He trailed only diminutive Oshawa General Mitchell Vande Sompel in points per game too, and was one of the best powerplay quarterbacks in all of junior. His NHL-sized, 200+ pound frame is almost an identical size to Jake Virtanen’s, and given his size and scoring rate, he compares favourably to former CHLers such as Dan Hamhuis, P.K. Subban, Stephane Robidas, Drew Doughty, Dmitri Kulikov, and Derek Morris.
His two years of pro in Sweden are his most compelling asset however, as his performance in the Allsvenskan put him in pretty select company. Extremely few players are afforded the opportunity to play in a pro league that isn’t developmental in any way, where teams are trying to ice the best teams and win.Merely appearing in the Allsvenskan is a good indicator that a Swedish prospect has an excellent chance at NHL success, and Andersson’s performance was close to all-time good.
Pronman expected Andersson to have a better season in North America given his exceptional pedigree, and while many scouts were left wanting more, Andersson’s talent is undeniable. Pronman describes Andersson as a “dynamic offensive talent with great puck skills” and a right-handed cannon from the point who plays an “aggressive, attacking style of play and loves to have the puck on his stick,” while Todd Cordell adds that Andersson is an “excellent puck mover” that “consistently makes an accurate first pass.”
The Canucks have been desperately seeking a powerplay threat on the blueline since Christian Ehrhoff and Sami Salo left, and Andersson looks to have as good a chance as any player in this draft of filling that role in the future. If his defensive warts can be ironed out too, it’s entirely possible Andersson becomes a very good play-driver from the back end too, and a key cog in a good defense corps.
If you’re looking for a fast, puck-moving defensemen who could be a power play quarterback down the road, Andersson is a pretty good choice.