It seems that most of the talent towards the top of the draft board tend to be forwards. This year’s draft is no different, but we definitely can’t forget about the defensemen. Our next prospect and second defenseman covered, is the enigmatic Timothy Liljegren.
For the previous prospect, Cody Glass, click here.
Timothy Liljegren plays with Rogle BK in the SHL. He is a right-shooting defenseman who has a couple years of experience playing in the top Swedish league.
Liljegren is 6’0″, 191 lbs., and is the sixth ranked European skater according to NHL Central Scouting.
Liljegren started the season with many people believing that he was the only person possibly able to challenge Nolan Patrick as the top overall pick. Needless to say, this season has changed his fortunes. He has had to deal with sickness and injuries, which kept him out of the the World Junior Championships; and his game seems to have scouts puzzled. Liljegren is a fantastic skater who can retrieve the puck and move it out with outstanding ease but seems to lack a great deal of maturity. Scouts talk about him trying to do too much to impress people and making poor decisions and turning the puck over too much. Needless to say, that should make Avalanche fans leery about drafting him.
An active, offensive-minded rearguard who likes the puck on his stick…skates with strong fluidity and agility, getting from one point to the next effortlessly as his feet always seem to be in motion…can take the puck end-to-end a la Erik Karlsson…his offensive IQ is off the charts as is his creativity…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…continually reading the play and moving as he tries to be in strong position to contribute as an option when not in possession of the puck himself…can be a high-risk, high-reward guy as he does take chances that can lead to turnovers here or there…a game-breaker…projected as a top-pairing offensive NHL defenseman.
— ISS Hockey (@ISShockey) March 7, 2017
Liljegren was the early second overall ranked prospect for the 2017 draft. He missed time due to Mono and injuries which cost him a shot at the World Junior and subsequently he has slipped down some rankings. He is a mobile two-way puck moving defender that moves the puck up ice either by crisp, smart passes or carrying the puck with his long powerfuil skating stride. He hakes good reads and reacts smart and quickly processing the game at a high level. Liljegren has shown well playing against men at the pro level in Sweden as well as in international tournaments such as the U18 in North Dakota and the Five Nations most recently. Don’t let Liljegren fall down your draft rankings as he should be the first defenceman selected in any draft.
Started the year ranked as a top defenseman prospect based on smooth and mature play from the back end as a puck mover, attacker and PP man, Thick not large, but there is little on the negative side on how well he uses his abilities to defend. A world class skater who has agility mobility and great acceleration, he displays high hockey IQ and reads the ice as well as any NHL defender. Already in the Swedish Elite league and not at all out of place. He really hasn’t gotten any bigger or physically stronger, and that might have him sliding down draft lists from top defenseman in the class to maybe a risky selection early on. He is a strong puck mover who will fearlessly lead the attack as a newbie in the SHL. If he does slide, he may make one NHL team’s scouting staff look like geniuses.
No player has dropped as sharply since the summer as the enigmatic blueliner that has struggled this season due to increasing concerns about how he see the ice and processes the play. He had mono to start the season so he was given leeway for his disappointing start, but the struggles have continued, and he was a healthy scratch for Rogle at the end of the season. Players his own age have caught up to him and he’s not been able to adjust. Has top-four blueliner potential with his skating skills even if questions about his offensive upside have surfaced.
More scouts from Recrutes.ca (seriously, check this site out if you want first-class draft coverage.)
He thinks he’s something he’s not, and he keep screwing around..and keeps falling. He’ll be fine one day if he just figures out what he is..a good puck retriever, puck mover and be a really solid mobile defenceman, and don’t worry about the offensive side. He’s got talent…but what he tries to do is impress us, and he digs himself a hole. All he does is turn it over and over. He’s neglectful on the defensive side. The physical part he’s got…but you have to show maturity and know what you are…don’t try to be something you can’t be. At one time he was faster than everybody..now everybody’s catching up…so try to adapt. Can he adapt? Maybe… but the turnovers….it might come…but he could be a bust too.
Liljegren is going to f*** me up because I don’t know what he is…I get all of the physical attributes but I don’t get the skill. He’s going to really have to simplify his game to be half decent. That’s not what you want out of this guy…i want to see some dynamics if you’re going to take him high. In the second round..okay..but I’m not going to take him with my first pick. I would not be all anxious to take him in the top 20. I don’t know what he is…I love everything about his physical skills, but he doesn’t create a lot. If he simplifies his game..then he’s a simple player.
Should the Avalanche Draft Him?
At 4? No. No way. There’s no doubt that there is a lot to like about Liljegren’s game, and it certainly is easy to get mesmerized by his skating, but let’s talk about those scout comments. The one word that comes up that should have all Avalanche fans looking for a different person is TURNOVERS. Turnovers are just as visible as all those wonderful physical attributes that he has, but turnovers as a result of trying to be too showy seems to be an issue with his game. The Avalanche do not need any more of this kind of issue on a team that turns the puck over like it’s their job.
Now, if Liljegren is still available late in the first round (I mean, somebody always falls, right?) then perhaps you think about trading back into the first round to take him. With so many of us seemingly resigned to the fact that Matt Duchene will be moved, and a reasonable assumption that a first round pick should be a part of that trade, the position of the Avalanche dancing partner will determine whether or not you’d want to take him over other players like Cale Makar, Nicholas Hague, Juuso Valimaki, or even Cal Foote. It seems that scouts are pretty nervous about Liljegren in most of the first round, so we’ll see how he ends up playing out.