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 2018 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.
Jacob Olofsson has been a staple on Swedish international teams in his age group. He scored a goal and an assist at last year’s World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, helping Sweden to gold. He added three goals at the 2018 Under-18, despite playing as an underage player. This season he scored two goals and four points in five games as Sweden took home bronze at the Ivan Hlinka. He also appeared as part of the five nations tournament in February. Olofsson is currently representing his country at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships.
Domestically, he is playing for Timra IK in the Allsvenskan. Olofsson has 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points in 43 games while playing in the second tier of Swedish men’s hockey. Olfsson put up three goals and an assist in 10 playoff games, helping his team to earn promotion to the SHL next season.
Jacob Olofsson Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Left
Born February 8th, 2000 — Piteå Sweden
Height 6’2″ — Weight 192 lbs [188 cm / 87 kg]
Olofsson has above-average but not blazing speed. More importantly though, is that he reaches that top speed quickly, and with relatively few strides. His strong acceleration helps him to be quick to loose pucks, get out quickly in transition, or to close space in the defensive end of the ice. He also has good agility and edgework, allowing him to shift directions quickly. Olofsson has decent lower body strength and balance. As he adds muscle to his core, this will improve, and he will be stronger on the puck and win more battles along the boards.
Olofsson has very good stickhandling ability and pairs that with his good skating speed. This makes him extremely dangerous off the rush. He can beat his man wide and cut to the net. He can also dangle a defender and make a quick cut into the open space that he generates. When defenders back off him, he can slow up to create a passing lane to a teammate or use the defender as a screen and let off a wrist shot. Olofsson is a smart player who can set up a teammate, or score with a quick wrist shot and good release.
Olofsson is also good at controlling the puck down low and making plays out of the cycle game. He also gets to the front of the net, and has the hand-eye co-ordination to tip in pucks, and the quickness to pounce on rebounds. The question mark seems to be around how high his offensive ceiling is. Olofsson plays a very straight forward game. More often than not, he makes the simple and safe play rather than try to be creative.
Olofsson already plays a solid two-way game for his age. He is strong on the backcheck, helping the defence with back pressure and support. He is smart positionally, and reads the play well, cutting down passing and shooting lanes. When playing with his age group on the international teams, he is often used on the penalty kill. Olofsson works well in containing the cycle and winning board battles down low as well. He is not afraid to put his body on the line to block shots.
Projection and Comparison
Olofsson projects as a second or third line centre in the NHL, if he can continue his development. He could be the type of player that coaches trust in all situations, and play big minutes. He will need some time to be NHL ready, and it is likely that he spends at least one more season overseas. Olofsson is still growing and putting muscle on his frame. Once he makes his way to North America, he likely needs a bit of AHL time as well. Olofsson’s game is comparable to Ryan O’Reilly, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on talent or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the many highlight packages of Olofsson that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
Caption: PLYMOUTH, MI – FEBRUARY 15: Jacob Olofsson #21 of the Sweden Nationals follows the play against the Finland Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 15, 2018, in Plymouth, Michigan. Finland defeated Sweden 5-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images Sport)