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Sweden’s hockey program has really improved in recent years. The country is producing more and more quality NHL prospects every year. For the 2013 class, Jacob de la Rose joins Elias Lindholm, Andre Burakowsky, Robert Hagg, and Alexander Wennberg to give us 5 Swedes in the top 34 ranked players at LWOS.
De la Rose spent the season playing for Leksands in the Swedish Allsvenskan, the second division of Swedish men’s hockey. As we’ve explained previously, the Allsvenskan is not like the AHL, the leagues are set up like European Football (Soccer) leagues with relegation and promotion. De la Rose played a bottom line role for Leksands as a 17 year old playing against men, but he did help Leksands earn promotion to the Elitserien for next season.
De la Rose has a ton of international experience and has been playing for Swedish national teams at the Under 16, Under 17, Under 18, and Under 20 levels over the years. He has won silver medals at the 2012 IIHF World Under 18 Championships, and at the 2013 World Junior Championships. He was also the Swedish captain at the 2013 Under 18s.
Born May 20 1995 — Arvika, Sweden
Height 6.02 — Weight 183 — Shoots Left
De la Rose is a dynamic skater. He has great speed, and excellent acceleration. He is very explosive and his ability to change speeds, and that extra gear he has allows him to beat defenders to the outside and cut to the net. He’s also quick at getting in on the forecheck, and de la Rose takes advantage of this as he just loves to hit. He has good agility and edgework allowing him to navigate his way through traffic, and his great balance allows him to fight through checks.
There are a lot of tools in de la Rose’s toolbox in the offensive zone. He has great stickhandling and very soft hands. He goes to the net and can score goals in tight on rebounds and tip ins. He also has a good wrist soft, and his release is decent. He’s an absolute beast on the boards and just loves physical contact, often being the initiator. De la Rose has shown good vision and passing skills on occasion as well. There is a huge “But” here though, and its that despite showing flashes of all these tools, de la Rose has not been as productive as he could be. His Allvenskan stats are good for a 17 year old in that league, and I don’t take issue with those, but at the international level, de la Rose is just not putting up the points you’d expect given his talent, at the U18 and WJC levels.
De la Rose’s defensive game is excellent, especially for a player his age. He is an extremely responsible forward, who has great gap control and understands how to always keep himself between his man and the net. He backchecks hard, and comes down low to help his defencemen against the cycle game. De la Rose is a willing shot blocker and cuts down the passing lanes, anticipating plays well and creating turnovers. He continues to play his rough and tumble game in the defensive end and again loves to take the body. His defensive game is elite given the stage he is at in his development.
De la Rose’s style is reminiscent of David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, perhaps even with better skating. However this is a style comparison and not an assessment of potential. De la Rose could become a top 6 forward if he can develop his offensive tools and show consistent production. However, he is a player who is a very safe player as with his size, physicality, defensive prowess, and skating ability, he’s a very good bet to be a valuable third/fourth line NHLer even if the offence does not come around.
Don’t forget to check back tomorrow where we will reveal the number 35 prospect for this June’s NHL Draft.
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Photo Credit: www.hockeysverige.se