Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2019 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Swedish forward Simon Holmstrom.
Many young Swedish players are brought up for full-time minutes in the SHL or Allsvenskan at a very young age. However, management at HV71 took a patient approach with Simon Holmstrom despite his domination at the Under-20 level over the last two years. He played in one game in 2017-18 and one game this year and is still looking for his first SHL point. With 11 goals and 30 points in 28 games, along with eight points in six playoff games, he helped lead HV71’s J20 team to the league title in 2017-18. He also led the J20 for points by a 17-year-old. He followed that up with seven goals and 20 points in 21 games this season, despite missing time due to a pair of injuries. Holmstrom also won a league title in the J16 league in 2015-16.
Holmstrom has represented his country in a number of international games. The highlight was this season’s IIHF Under-18 World Championship where he helped the squad to a gold medal. Holmstrom scored three goals and three assists for six points in seven tournament games. His father, Jonas Holmstrom, was a long-time professional player in Sweden during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Simon Holmstrom Scouting Report
Right Wing — shoots Right
Born May 24th, 2001 — Tranas, Sweden
Height 6’1” — Weight 185 lbs [185 cm/84 kg]
Holmstrom is a very good skater. He has good, but not great top end speed. His acceleration is very good, which allows him to reach that top speed in just a few strides. This gives defenders issues as he can pull away once he gets a step on them. Holmstrom has elite level agility and edgework. He uses this to beat defenders with quick changes in direction. This also helps him to open up passing and shooting lanes. Holmstrom has good balance. His stride is powerful and allows him to fight through checks.
Holmstrom has excellent hands. He can control the puck while moving at top speed. He combines his hands with his excellent agility to create space to set up teammates. Holmstrom changes angles and creates openings to get the puck to a teammate. He has outstanding vision and can pass the puck through tight spaces, whether he is making that pass on the backhand or the forehand. He is an intelligent player who reads the play well and anticipates where his teammates are going to be. Holmstrom has the ability to control the puck down low on the cycle, giving his teammates time to get open for a scoring chance.
Holmstrom can also play the role of the goal-scorer. His soft, quick hands translate in close to the net. His ability to change his angle on his shot is also useful. Holmstrom has a good wrist shot with a quick release. He could stand to improve his slapshot and one-timer though. Holmstrom can fight through checks in order to make plays. However, he is not going to lay many of those hits himself. He is not really aggressive on the forecheck or in the corners.
Holmstrom is strong positionally and uses his body and stick to cut down passing lanes. He is willing to support the defence and reads the play well. Holmstrom does a good job of keeping himself between his man and the net and forcing opponents to the outside. He has been an effective penalty killer at the junior level. Similarly to his play in the offensive zone though, Holmstrom is not really a physical player.
Projection and Comparison
Hip surgery last summer, a broken thumb early in the season, and a concussion later in the year have all held Holmstrom back a bit during his draft season. Those injuries, especially the concussion could scare off some teams come draft day. If he can stay healthy and develop, he could be a top-six winger. He will need to be stronger, as well as trust his shooting and goal-scoring ability a bit more. Holmstrom’s game is reminiscent of Alex Tanguay. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on his skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Simon Holmstrom that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect in our NHL Draft series.
Main Photo via youtube.