The Colorado Avalanche might select defenseman Timothy Liljegren if they traded down the draft. He’s a creatively gifted d-man.
The Colorado Avalanche have the best chance of winning picks one through three at the 2017 NHL Draft. The farthest they could fall would be pick #4.
Historically the team doesn’t like to pick defensemen too high. The last time they chose a defenseman in the first round was 2011, when they selected Duncan Siemens 11th overall. That probably didn’t sweeten them up to the idea considering he’s only played four games in the NHL since then.
Nonetheless, the 2017 NHL draft class has a highly-rated defenseman prospect, Swede Timothy Liljegren. The Colorado Avalanche are desperate for defense, so you never know if they might try another gamble in the first round.
2016-17 Team: Rögle BK (SHL)
Date of Birth: April 30, 1999 (17 years old)
Wt: 192 lbs
Timothy Liljegren is a defenseman from Sweden with long, flowing locks. It’s inevitable he was going to get compared to Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson.
However, Liljegren showcases a game that’s similar to Karlsson’s. ISS Hockey describes him as an “elite skater both in terms of speed and agility.” The site also calls him an “offensively creative defender.”
Hockey Prospectus considers Timothy to be the best available defenseman in the 2017 draft. The site continues:
"“Very strong and matured puckmoving skills, delivers at both ends of the ice, has a booming shot and competes real hard in his own zone. A leader on the blue line who is competing against men in Sweden for the second season.”"
More from Mile High Sticking
- Could Colorado Avalanche move on from Pavel Francouz next offseason?
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- Colorado Avalanche make sneaky signing with Tatar
- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could return in 2023-24 playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche rookie face-off tournament roster
The Hockey Writers like Timothy Liljegren’s game, too. The site praises his puck handling and skating skills. However, the site also remarks that the young defenseman is “gifted with an intelligent hockey mind, making him a playmaking asset.”
Future Considerations always has the most comprehensive scouting reports. Naturally the site uses phrases such as “offensive-minded rearguard.” However, the site further points out that Timothy skates with “strong fluidity and agility, getting from one point to the next effortlessly as his feet always seem to be in motion.”
Future Considerations also comments on his hockey IQ, stating his offensive mind is “off the charts, as is his creativity.” The site continues that he’s always reading the play while moving, trying to get himself into good positioning. The scouting report continues:
"“[Liljegren] makes strong breakout passes to move along the attack to his forwards before jumping into the play himself…has a strong wrist shot that is quick off his blade, strong and accurate, and he gets some solid velocity on his slap shot.”"
They consider he’ll be a top pairing defenseman in the NHL.
Timothy Liljegren in action:
Timothy Liljegren and the Colorado Avalanche
Timothy Liljegren is an exciting player — both in a good way and a bad way. Future Considerations calls him a “high-risk, high-reward” defenseman. In the common way of offensive defensemen, his defensive game is somewhat lacking.
Liljegren is young, so he still has a lot of learning. That’s something that might keep the Colorado Avalanche from selecting him. They need defensive help now.
However, I could see the team being intrigued by the young Swede. He’s the new style of defenseman — small and speedy. And his creativity is something that sets him apart from players like Mark Barberio or even Tyson Barrie. Liljegren could have it in him to be a true elite offensive defenseman.
MORE COLORADO AVALANCHE PROSPECTS:
I’m not sure if the Colorado Avalanche would select him even if they fell to fourth-overall in the draft. Rather, if they traded a high pick for more lower picks, and Timothy were still available, say, around #8 (He’s scouted to go between #6 to #8), they might take a chance on him. Any earlier on than that and I expect them to choose a forward who might be able to start playing in the NHL as early as next year.