The Chicago Blackhawks have signed the Swedish dazzler Jacob Nilsson to a one-year deal that runs through the up-and-coming 2018-2019 season.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) May 31, 2018
Chicago Blackhawks Sign Swedish Forward Jacob Nilsson
The 24-year-old Nilsson had himself a decent season in the Swedish Hockey League. In the 2017-2018 40 game season with Mora IK, the Swede tallied 18 points – eight goals and 10 assists. The lad’s point total was fourth on the team. During the prior two years (2015-17) as Mora IK competed in Allsvenskan, Nilsson grabbed himself a healthy 61 points – 29 goals and 32 assists – in 93 regular-season games, including registering career highs in goals (20) and assists (22) during the 2016-17 campaign. Over that two-season period, Nilsson also tallied three goals and three helpers in nine qualification games with Mora IK.
The 24-year-old also spent time as a member of Tingsryds AIF from 2011-15 as the team split time between Allsvenskan and Division 1. In 154 career games in Allsvenskan Nilsson recorded 33 goals and 36 helpers and 51 points – 8 goals and 38 assists – in 70 Division 1 games.
What’s life into Chicago going to be like for the Swede?
Odds are Nilsson will be spending most of his time with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs. The deal makes all the sense in the world for both parties. Nilsson seems to have some skill that might translate well in the North American version of hockey.
The 5’11” Nilsson can slot between the wing and centre, which makes him a viable option for the IceHogs. Although, the Swede only weighs in at 179 lbs, the belief is that his speed and skill can make up for his shortcomings in his size and stature.
According to his scouting reports, Nilsson is an agile player and his hockey senses are pretty good. He positions himself well on the ice. Not to mention, he can hold his own on the backcheck. He does have a tendency to get pushed around because of his size. Most feel that it doesn’t affect his game as a whole.
It will be interesting to see how Nilsson transitions from the SHL to North American hockey.
Going into next season
As always, it can be quite a transition for a European player to come and play the North American brand of hockey. There will be growing pains, but either way, the signing is that of a low-risk one for the Blackhawks. A team that happens to have an eye for European talent.
According to AZSports’ Craig Morgan, the Arizona Coyotes were also interested in Nilsson.
The Coyotes also had discussions with him. https://t.co/pQmh4aSW4a
— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) May 31, 2018
Nilsson may not make his way to the big dance next season, but this run with the Blackhawks’ farm team may help his NHL hopes.
Only time will tell.