In today’s installment of The Win Column’s 2021 NHL Entry Draft coverage, we profile projected mid-to-late first-round pick Simon Robertsson. Ranked at number 16 in TWC’s consolidated prospect rankings, Robertsson is likely to be available when the Flames pick. Let’s take a look at his previous seasons and see what he brings to the ice.
Who is Simon Robertsson?
Robertsson is a left-shooting right wing, standing 6’0 and weighing 190 pounds. Born on February 5th 2003 in Piteå, Sweden, Robertsson has played almost all of his junior hockey in Sweden, aside from international tournaments. In his most recent international tournament—the 2021 Under-18s—he was an assistant captain, and the team captured the bronze medal.
This season, he graduated the junior ranks and played the majority of his games in Sweden’s top league, the SHL, for the first time. In the year prior, he played eight games in the SHL, but didn’t stick around as he did this year. While he hasn’t yet found his offensive touch at the pro level, just being there as an 18-year-old is an impressive accomplishment.
Simon Robertsson’s on-ice production
While his numbers from the SHL won’t knock anyone’s socks off, Robertsson has shown time and time again in all his previous seasons across all the junior leagues he’s played in, that he can score goals. That knack hasn’t translated to the pro level yet, but playing on one of the top team’s in the SHL limited him to less than seven minutes of ice time a night, according to the league’s stats page.
|2018-19||D-2||J18 Elit||Skellefteå AIK||16||19||12||31||N/A|
|2019-20||D-1||J20 SuperElit||Skellefteå AIK||41||13||17||30||N/A|
Considering his extremely low ice time, it’s important to take with a grain of salt both his SHL point totals and his NHL equivalency (NHLe) rating. NHLe is based on point production, so in this case it may not be the best way to project his potential. Especially when considering his extreme success in the junior ranks, there’s reason to believe his talent level is higher than his SHL point totals suggest.
Something else worth mentioning about his production this season—he also played 15 games in the J20 Nationell league in Sweden (Nationell is the new name for the SuperElit league). During that time, he racked up nine goals and eleven assists. With the right opportunity, don’t doubt his ability to produce at the SHL level, too.
Simon Robertsson’s strengths
Considering his goal scoring totals from his time in junior, it will probably come as no surprise to hear that Robertsson’s biggest strength is his shot. Scouts describe both the power and release as being top-quality.
Just look at this laser beam of a shot:
The reaction of the goalie says it all, searching for a rebound or loose puck, not aware the puck was already in and out of the net. Scoring despite having very little traffic in front seems to be a pattern with him, and is a testament to the quality of his shot.
Look how far away from the net he is when he scores in the next clip.
On this play he rushes up ice, sees no pass option, and seems to effortlessly launch a shot past the goalie from above the tops of the circles. What a shot.
Another strength is his two-way game. Despite his young age, he plays a responsible game, not prone to defensive lapses. By staying in the lineup of the professional level Skellefteå team despite his minimal offensive contribution, he has proven to have a responsible play style that pro-level coaches can trust, even when his best attribute, his shot, isn’t being utilized much.
Combined with his reputation as a hard worker, it’s no wonder he has often been assigned the role of assistant captain on his junior teams.
Simon Robertsson’s areas of improvement
Two areas of Robertsson’s game are mentioned as things he could improve on. The first is skating, and the second is passing.
Some reports indicate he is an agile skater lacking high-end speed. Others report he has high-end speed and lacks agility. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle, and he is simply a gifted hockey player who has some work to do on his skating. The fact that he is already holding down a professional roster spot means his skating can’t be holding him back much, at least yet. To reach the next level however, his skating will need to, pardon the word choice, take some strides.
The other concern—his playmaking—is perhaps more problematic. While he is always going to be a goal scoring threat with his powerful shot and quick release, his ability to be creative on the rush or cycle is limited. This limits his ability to create dangerous chances if there is no shot available.
Fit with the Flames
As a right wing, Robertsson fills an organizational need. On top of that, he is a player who is already responsible defensively, who has serious goal scoring potential. Any team would be happy to pick a player like Robertsson, but with the Flames consistent difficulties with scoring goals, he is especially intriguing for them.
However, there are some knocks against him in terms of organizational fit. For one, he is a left shot. The Flames forward group is so left-shot heavy that the organization may prefer to fill their need on the right side with a more ideal, right-shooting right wing.
Another issue regarding his fit with the Flames could be his projected draft position. Despite being a right wing and a goal scorer, it’s likely the Flames will pick high enough in the draft that they can choose a player they like better or view as lower risk.
Still, it’s clear that he fills a positional need and if the team doesn’t do well in the lottery, or intends to trade down as they did to select Connor Zary last year, Robertsson is undeniably someone to target.
Simon Robertsson is a six-foot, 190 pound right wing who played most of his games in 2021 with Skellefteå of the SHL. The left-shot forward is projected to be picked in the second half of the first round, with different outlets ranking him between 13th and 24th overall.
His strong suit is his shot, which is among the best in the draft. His ability to score at all levels of junior has not yet materialized at the pro level, but should given the right opportunity. Given his mature frame, he may be more pro-ready then many in the draft despite his struggles to produce in the SHL this season.
Some scouts have expressed concerns about his skating and playmaking, but neither are serious detriments to his game. After all, he is still a projected first rounder. Some improvement in these aspects of the game could make him a really strong NHL player in the future.
Projection: Second line scorer
Featured image created with Venngage.