It’s that time of year again! We’re less than a week away from the first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, on Thursday, July 7. The Columbus Blue Jackets will be picking at #6 and #12. Next up, Liam Ohgren:
Team: Djurgardens IF
Date of Birth: January 28, 2004
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Weight: 201 lbs.
#8 - NHL Central Scouting (among Europeans)
#13 - Elite Prospects
#14 - Dobber Prospects
#17 - Consolidated Ranking
#18 - FC Hockey, Craig Button, Recruit Scouting
#19 - Smaht Scouting
#20 - Draft Prospects Hockey, The Puck Authority
#21 - Bob McKenzie, McKeen’s Hockey
#23 - Sportsnet
#25 - ISS Hockey
Average - 18.21
Games Played: 69 (Across two leagues and several tournaments)
Ranked as high as 13th and as low as 25th, it seems experts are unsure of where Liam Ohgren will go in the draft. If players like Cooley and Jiricek are the Lamborghinis and Porsches of the draft, Ohgren is the Mustang - not the flashiest or fastest thing around, but smoother to handle, a lot of muscle, and better than the litany of Civics in the later rounds.
I feel like I should disclose that I know nothing about cars and had to ask my roommate for car examples besides “Lamborghini = elite” and “Mustang = pretty good.” Anyways.
While Ohgren isn’t the fastest thing around, he has the strength and edge work to make up for it. He also has both a wicked wrister and great passing ability, able to both set up his teammates for dangerous shots and bury dangerous shots when he gets them. But his defensive and all-around game are also excellent. He seems to me like a hybrid of Josh Anderson and Patrice Bergeron, though most experts see him in a middle-six role.
Öhgren is a dual-threat offensive player who can generate offence off the rush with a refined give-and-go game, or work into open space to make himself available for dangerous opportunities in the offensive zone. I think he is a stronger skater than some other scouts I’ve spoken with and believe he has the ability to impact the game in transition, carrying the puck through neutral ice and pushing the defenders back to create space. Without the puck, he drives the middle and has a nose for scoring areas where he is able to utilize his quick release to beat goaltenders with well-placed shots. Öhgren also displays responsible, pro-level habits away from the puck in the way that he applies pressure or stays above the puck as the F3 when he isn’t leading the forecheck. He isn’t going to be a star in the NHL but I think Öhgren has a bright future as a two-way, play-driving winger with a bit of a scoring touch. - Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects
Ohgren is strong on his feet. His stride is powerful and he can fight through checks when moving at speed. He is decent along the boards for his age. He should also get even better as he matures and adds muscle. ... His ability to get his shot off quickly as well as the soft hands to change his release point just before shooting give opposing goalies real issues. Ohgren can create his own shot with his speed on the rush. When defenders back off, he uses them as a screen and fires the puck on the net. He also has a good snapshot and slap shot. Ohgren has a knack for finding soft spots in the defence and getting open to take a pass from a teammate and fire a one-timer on the net. ... Ohgren has good vision and passing skills. He can find the open man and makes good decisions with the puck. Ohgren can fire a pass through a tight passing lane. He can create those passing lanes with a quick dangle or good lateral movement just before passing the puck. - Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports
He may not possess the offensive talent that we see in other top forward prospects in the 2022 draft, but Öhgren has a variety of tools in his toolbox to make him an effective three zone player and make an impact offensively. Hockey IQ, playmaking ability, lethal shot from range, and strong work ethic off the puck. He checks off a lot of boxes you want in a top-six NHL winger. I believe his game/style has zero red flags and at worst he pans out to be a bottom six winger that provides pace and offence to your bottom two lines. I believe Öhgren’s hockey intelligence is one of the main factors that could help him transition into the NHL level. - Jared Brown, Draft Pro
Still, it’s obvious that Öhgren’s offensive exploits aren’t what helped him stick around so long in the SHL, but rather his superior awareness and work ethic. He is always tracking the puck and looking for ways to either contribute to building a play or create a turnover. Under pressure, he’s equally as strong, using smart, short passes to move the puck, even with an opponent breathing down his neck. His game has very few mistakes, and that has given him the title of one of the safest picks available in the 2022 NHL Draft. There’s almost no doubt that he will end up in the NHL, and he will play somewhere in the top nine. - Dayton Reimer, The Hockey Writers