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Oscar Fisker Mølgaard Scouting Report
In recent memory one of the new up-and-coming countries in hockey have been Denmark. The small Scandinavian country has produced NHL-caliber players like Nikolaj Ehlers, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Frederik Andersen. This is despite the limitations of being a small hockey nation with just 25 rinks in the entire country. Danish hockey was riding high, and with their run at the World Juniors from 2015 to 2019 scouts were taking notice of the Danes. During those years seven Danes were selected in the drafts. Most noticeably, Mads Søgaard got drafted in the second round by the Ottawa Senators.
Since 2019, not a single Danish player has been selected in the NHL draft. A drought that many Danes are hoping will end early during the 2023 NHL draft. The man to break the drought is Oscar Fisker Mølgaard. Playing for HV71 in the SHL, Mølgaard has impressed many throughout the season. Despite only putting up seven points in the SHL, the fact that he played 41 games is impressive. Not many born in 2005 is able to cement a spot in one of Europe’s best leagues.
While he hasn’t produced on the scoreboard in the SHL, he has been able to show his offensive skillset in the J20 Nationell (the Swedish junior league). Here he had 27 points in 21 games which is admirable. He has also been representing Denmark at three different world championships throughout the season. A feat that shows he can be relied on in multiple situations and in both ends of the ice.
Center — shoots Left
Born February 18th, 2005 — Copenhagen, Denmark
Height 6’0″ — Weight 165 lbs [183 cm/75 kg]
Oscar Fisker Mølgaard is more than among the better skaters of the 2023 NHL draft. He skates really high level with an excellent initial push to get up to top speed. However it’s rare that he needs this push since he is constantly moving. He never seems to stand still and keeps surveying the ice as the play develops. This allows him to get the upper hand in most situations.
Mølgaard’s strong skating allows him to utilize his greatest weapon: His understanding of the game in every zone of the ice, both on and off the puck, where he consistently can skate into the right positions to make the ideal play. On the puck, he is also great at shielding the puck away from opponents, which allows him to keep control of the puck. This is despite his smaller frame, which he counters by being smart and using his body to outmuscle much bigger players.
Overall Mølgaard’s skating, just like most of his game is without many flaws. It’s a complete and refined package with good top-end speed, acceleration, and great movement on and off the puck. The only thing that at times lets him down, can be his control of the puck when he is trying to make a pass or shot while at top speed.
The only true weakness of Oskar Fisker Mølgaard’s game is his shot. It’s nothing to write home about, as it’s nowhere near an NHL-caliber shot. The release can be slow, and his aim is often straight into the chest of the goalie. It’s also not a particularly hard or deceptive shot, which must be developed a lot if Mølgaard is to reach his full potential.
However, that is also where the weaknesses end in all areas of the ice. In the offensive zone, he is a brilliant forechecker, who is working hard to win the puck and create chances. His playmaking ability is good and has developed a lot over the past season with HV71. He reads the play well and makes sensible decisions with the puck, which keeps the puck in the offensive zone.
To counteract his shot, Mølgaard uses his intense style to produce at a high level. Most of his goals come from tips or net front battles, where he simply outworks the defender to get the loose puck. It’s not flashy or super skilled, but he is a player that will outwork most to gain possession and find the rebounds. A skill he has been able to hone so far and will have to continue to do so to take the next step towards the NHL.
As mentioned earlier, Oscar Fisker Mølgaard’s greatest weapon is his high understanding of the game. Truthfully, he might be the smartest player during the 2023 NHL draft. He adapts to all levels of competition and situations. This combined with his fantastic 200-foot game, where he works hard along the boards and in front of the net, makes him an extremely reliable forward defensively.
It’s also worth mentioning that his high effort allows him to be one of the best backchecking forwards in the draft. With his relentless game, and with his strong skating, he is often the player who disrupts a counterattack and puts an end to the attack. Using both his stick and surprisingly strong physicality to regain the puck.
Another underrated quality of Mølgaard is his ability to be a good transitional player. His constant movement, strong skating, and brilliant work rate allow him to find the open ice around the center ice. This gives an outlet for defenders to either send a pass to him to handle and skate into the zone or touch for a dump-in. A dump in which Mølgaard often is the one winning the battle along the boards to make a defensive shift into an offensive one.
Comparable and Prediction:
While Oscar Fisker Mølgaard won’t ever be the greatest superstar to come out of this year’s draft, he might have one of the highest floors. He is an extremely reliable defensive forward, who is constantly getting better and learning. He has an excellent work rate and battles in all three zones of the ice. A defensive forward like this from Denmark screams of Frans Nielsen, who was one of the most underrated in the NHL for a number of years. With the defensive game, ability to learn quickly, and hard work rate, Mølgaard might be on a similar path as the Dane who played 925 games in the NHL. All it takes is to work on the shot and finish.
Main Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports