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Tobias Bjornfot is coming off of captaining Sweden’s Under-18 Team to a gold medal at the IIHF U18 World Championships. While he only registered one assist in the tournament, his defensive presence was a key factor in the win. He also captained Sweden at the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament, helping the team to a silver medal. He has plenty of international experience as he was also part of the bronze medal winning Swedish team at the 2018 IIHF U18s. Bjornfot represented Sweden at Under-16 and Under-17 level events, including last year’s U17 World Hockey Challenge.
Bjornfot got his feet wet in the SHL, playing seven regular-season and four playoff games for Djurgardens. He spent most of his time with the J20 squad. Bjornfot scored 11 goals and 22 points in 39 games. He added three points in seven playoff games. It was enough to see him recognized as the J20 league’s best defenceman and helped his team to finish third. In 2017-18, he played in the J18 league playoffs and helped the Djurgardens squad to the championship with five points in five games. However, despite being 16, he spent most of the season in the J20, scoring 22 points in 42 games.
Tobias Bjornfot Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Left
Born April 6th, 2001 — Upplands Väsby, Sweden
Height 6’0″ — Weight 205 lbs [183 cm/93 kg]
Bjornfot is another strong two-way defender, whose game is based on strong skating ability. He has very good speed in both directions. His acceleration is also at a high level. He pairs this with excellent pivots, agility and edgework to play a two-way game. Bjornfot covers a lot of ice quickly. He is able to transition from offence to defence, or vice-versa, effectively. Bjornfot can also quickly change speeds or direction in order to avoid a forechecker. He also has a strong lower-body which helps him to win battles along the boards and in front of the net. Bjornfot is strong on the puck and his stride helps him fight through checks.
In the offensive end, Tobias Bjornfot has a good wrist shot with a decent release. He sneaks in from the point to get it off closer to the net. However, his slap shot could use some work. Bjornfot sees the ice well and makes smart plays with the puck. He makes good passes to start the rush and transition game. He is also not afraid to rush the puck up the ice himself or join in as a trailer. The combination of his stickhandling and skating ability also gives him the ability to skate the puck out of danger and avoid forecheckers in his own end. He has some creativity on the point, but this is an area he can continue to work on. He tends to be conservative and does not take a lot of chances to make an offensive play.
Bjornfot is willing to join the rush at times and when he does can provide some offence with his passing skill and his wrist shot as a trailer. This is not something he does very often though, as he is again content to play a conservative and more defensive style. There is potential to produce better numbers than he has put up to date as the skill is there. It will take some coaching to get him to take advantage of the opportunities though.
Bjornfot defends well against the rush and is very well positioned and disciplined in his own end. He has a high hockey IQ and reads the play extremely well. His anticipation of where the play is going and what play the other team will try to make is high end. This leads to him breaking up plays and intercepting passes. When turnovers happen, he is quick to transition the puck out of the zone. Bjornfot is strong on the boards and in front of the net against junior aged competition but must bulk up before he is ready to compete in the pro game.
Projection and Comparison
Bjornfot could develop into a two-way defenceman with a top-four role at the NHL level. Like most young defenders, he still has some things to learn in his own zone. That said, he is already highly advanced for a draft-eligible player. The question here is the offence. It is rarely seen in Bjornfot’s international appearances (with the exception of the Five Nations tournament). While he puts up points in the domestic junior league, there is also some concern that the points per game did not grow much from last season to this one. If a team can unlock his puck-moving and offensive skill, they could have a gem on their hands. Currently, his game is similar to Jonas Brodin but this is a style comparison only and not one based on skill.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Tobias Bjornfot that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Main Photo via youtube screengrab.