The Journey: Breakout Candidates in Sweden
Last season in the SHL, we saw breakout seasons from young players like Elias Pettersson, Jonathan Davidsson and Victor Ejdsell. Which players could be breaking out this season? Let’s look at some candidates to find out.
Dominik Bokk – St. Louis Blues
Last season, Bokk made the jump to Sweden after spending his entire career up until that point in his native country Germany. He spent most of the season in the SuperElit which is the top junior league in Sweden, and his results there were really good: 14 goals and 41 points in 35 games. He also played 15 games in the SHL but wasn’t quite ready for that level. The St. Louis Blues were thrilled to draft him 25th overall this past summer.
This season, Bokk is a full-time pro player in the SHL. He’s managed to score three points in six games so far. He’s only seeing an average of 13:27 of ice time per game (11th highest average on his team among forwards) but 2:06 of that has come on the power play which is a good sign – he’s given an opportunity to put up points and use his strengths in that regard.
Bokk is extremely talented, and his offensive breakout is only a matter of time. If he earns more ice time, that breakout could definitely happen this season. But he may still be a year away from it. The Växjö Lakers are the reigning league champions, and they don’t hand out ice time unless players truly earn it.
Jesper Boqvist – New Jersey Devils
Boqvist had an amazing season in the SuperElit as a 17-year-old. He scored 23 goals and 58 points in 38 games. His draft year was split between three leagues – the SHL, Allsvenskan and SuperElit – and he had very good results in all three leagues. The Devils were happy to select him 36th overall in 2017. He may not have elite upside the same way his younger brother Adam does but Jesper is a very good prospect nonetheless.
But last season was very difficult for him. He played four games at SuperElit and just 23 games in the SHL. His results were good but injuries were concerning – and this wasn’t the first time they had been an issue for him. He played at the World Juniors but wasn’t completely healthy when playing there, and his results were not impressive because of it.
This season, Boqvist has scored three points in seven games. He’s played an average of 17:04 per game which is fourth highest on his team among forwards. 3:05 of that time has come on the power play. Brynäs is putting a lot of faith in this youngster, and because of his immense amount of offensive talent, it’s not hard to see an offensive breakout coming this season. Boqvist is flying a bit under the radar, and his trade value could be significantly higher this time next season.
Emil Bemström – Columbus Blue Jackets
Bemström was drafted 117th overall in 2017. He spent his draft year playing in the SuperElit where he scored 21 goals and 33 points in 28 games. He also played a few games in the SHL.
Last season, he split between the SuperElit and Allsvenskan which is the second-tier pro league in Sweden. He increased his scoring rate in the junior league and scored 15 points in 33 games in the Allsvenskan, and those are good numbers for someone his age.
This season, Bemström is a full-time SHL player, and he’s had a great start to the season: five goals and six points in six games. His average ice time has been just 12:59 per game but 2:52 of that time has come on the power play. He’s also been a regular on Djurgården’s penalty kill, averaging 0:54 per game short-handed.
Of the three names mentioned in this article, Bemström is most likely to be available for free in most leagues. If your league has a farm system and it’s deep enough, you should consider adding him. If he’s already owned, now might be a good time to check if you could acquire him before his value explodes. He’s been flying completely under the radar but a strong start to a season won’t go unnoticed. He should play at the World Juniors this winter, and at that point, his value could be much different than what it currently is.
And that’s all for now, thanks for reading. Feel free to add comments below. Remember to follow me on Twitter @JokkeNevalainen.
Previously on The Journey:
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