The Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild completed a trade on Wednesday, just ahead of the start of the NHL season. The Canadiens acquire prospect defenceman Gustav Olofsson while the Wild acquire prospect winger Will Bitten.
Canadiens acquire defenseman Gustav Olofsson from the Minnesota Wild, in return for forward William Bitten. Olofsson will report to the Laval Rocket.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) October 3, 2018
Montreal Canadiens Acquire Gustav Olofsson
Defense — shoots Left
Born December 1st, 1994 — Boras, Sweden
Height 6’3″ — Weight 197 lbs [191 cm / 89 kg]
Drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the 2nd round, #46 overall at the 2013 NHL Draft
Olofsson got in 41 games for the Wild last season, putting up eight assists. He was unable to make the squad this year and placed on waivers earlier in the week.
Olofsson is a strong skater with good mobility on the back end. He has good speed and acceleration in both directions, with solid edgework, pivots and agility. Olofsson has good lower body strength giving him good balance and allowing him to be strong on the puck. It also helps him to gain leverage and be effective in board battles and in front of the net.
Olofsson put up decent numbers at the AHL level, but it has not translated to the NHL level as of yet. He will never be a top scoring defender but does have some offensive potential. Olofsson has strong passing skills and vision and the passing skill could translate to higher point totals with some patience. He makes plays in the transition game and has a strong first pass. Olofsson’s shot has improved. It will never be a howitzer, but he has added power and does a good job of getting it through to the net.
Olofsson is solid defensively with strong positioning and solid stick work. He is not afraid to take the body whether it be throwing a hit along the boards, battling in the corners or clearing the crease. Olofsson is willing to do whatever is necessary to make a play, including blocking shots or taking a hit to make a play in the transition game.
Right Wing — shoots Right
Born July 10th, 1998 — Gloucester, Ontario
Height 5.10 — Weight 167 lbs [178 cm/76 kg]
Drafted by Montreal Canadiens in the 3rd round, #70 overall, at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft
Bitten put up 20 goals and 64 points in 62 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs in his final year of junior hockey. He also added four goals and 11 points in 21 playoff games as the Bulldogs won the OHL Championship.
Bitten is a great skater, with good speed and acceleration. He also has excellent agility and edgework. Bitten has the ability to stop or change directions on a dime, beating defenders with his shiftiness. Despite the fact that Bitten is undersized, he is very strong on his skates, with excellent balance and the power to fight through checks. The low centre of gravity and excellent balance allows Bitten to be effective in battling for loose pucks in the corners.
When you combine those skating skills with soft hands and excellent stickhandling, and it is easy to see why Will Bitten is difficult to contain off the rush. He can beat a defender wide and cut to the net, or if they back off to defend his speed, Bitten understands how to use the defender as a screen and unleash and hard and accurate wrist shot. Bitten also has excellent vision and can be a playmaker, working off the half-wall on the powerplay or by opening up passing lanes on the rush. He has good hockey sense and seems to always make the right play with the puck. Without the puck, Bitten gets to the high traffic areas necessary to create offence and is not afraid to get his nose dirty. He is a non-stop worker who plays a gritty game, gets involved in board battles and scrums despite a lack of size.
Bitten brings his hard work to the defensive end of the ice. He supports the defence down low and continues to fight to defend against the cycle game. He keeps himself between the puck and the net and uses a quick stick to create turnovers and quickly transition to offence. Bitten will also need to improve his upper body strength in order to contain bigger opponents on the boards.