Colorado Avalanche: Nils Höglander Skilled Winger Who Plays Bigger Than His Size

PLYMOUTH, MI - FEBRUARY 15: Nils Hoglander #19 of the Sweden Nationals follows the play against the Finland Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 15, 2018 in Plymouth, Michigan. Finland defeated Sweden 5-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** Nils Hoglander
PLYMOUTH, MI - FEBRUARY 15: Nils Hoglander #19 of the Sweden Nationals follows the play against the Finland Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 15, 2018 in Plymouth, Michigan. Finland defeated Sweden 5-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** Nils Hoglander /
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Swedish winger Nils Höglander could be an option for the Colorado Avalanche’s 16th pick.

With the 2019 NHL draft just a couple of weeks away the Colorado Avalanche will be in the process of finalizing their draft lists. While any immediate needs the team has will be addressed during free agency, the draft is a time to build for the future. Could Nils Höglander be part of that?

The Avalanche have two picks in the first round. Here the full list:

More from Draft

#4 (from Ottawa)
#16
#47
#62 (also from Ottawa)
#78
#140
#171
#202

Nils Höglander certainly isn’t a 4th pick player, but he could be worth investing in with their 16th.

Nils Höglander

2018-19 Team: Rögle BK (Swedish Hockey League)
Date of Birth: Dec 20, 2000 (18 years old)
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 185 lbs.
Position: Left Wing
Shoots: Left

Ranked #23 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
Ranked #29 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
Ranked #41 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #11 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #18 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #29 by TSN/McKenzie

As you can see Höglander is projected to go somewhere in the 20s but that doesn’t mean the Colorado Avalanche won’t consider him.

Höglander has spent this year playing in the men’s league despite only turning 18 in December. He put up 7 goals and 7 assists for a total of 14 points, but even more impressive is the fact that he was awarded the SHL goal of the year for a goal back in January.

It’s clear that Höglander can make creative plays with the puck, but what really makes him stand out is his speed. Ben Kerr of Last Word On Hockey says:

"He is lightning quick, with outstanding speed and acceleration. This allows him to get behind the defence and away for breakaways. Off the rush, Hoglander can take a defender wide and cut to the net. He also has excellent agility and edgework."

While his small size could be seen as a disadvantage, it has little impact on the physicality of his game. Kerr adds that “Hoglander is surprisingly physical for his size” and “has even been known to throw big hits”.

This is echoed by Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analysis who comments:

"Hoglander isn’t big, but he is fearless in the corners and immediately bounces back from hefty wallops from older, larger opponents."

Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects summarizes Höglander’s game by saying:

"A skilled winger with good acceleration and a better release. Plays bigger than his size and has looked capable in the SHL this season. Quick cuts and quicker hands allow him to dart in and out of traffic."

Some highlights of Nils Höglander in action

Nils Höglander and the Colorado Avalanche

The biggest concern with smaller players is how they will fare when facing down hits from men a lot bigger than they are. Höglander has demonstrated that despite his size he can play well against larger men, either by using his speed and skill to work around them or by absorbing the hit and bouncing back.

While Höglander is predicted to get picked lower than 16th I still think it would be worth looking at him for that pick. The Avalanche could certainly use someone small and fast on their roster but, of course, it will entirely depend on who else is available. I wouldn’t be disappointed if they picked him up, though.

dark. Next. Cole Caufield Packs a lot of Talent into Small Package

The 2019 NHL Draft takes place in Vancouver, with the first round on June 21 and the second round on June 22. The time for the first round hasn’t been announced, but I’m expected last year’s start time of 5:30 pm MT.