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Photo Credit: usahockey.com

First Round Targets: MATTIAS SAMUELSSON

If Mattias Samuelsson sounds like a hockey name, that’s because it is. No, he doesn’t have any relation to Ulf Samuelsson, but his father, Kjell Samuelsson was an NHL defenseman. He played in 813 NHL games from 1985 to 1999 and recorded 186 career points.

Now, his son, a native of Voorhees, New Jersey, is following in his footsteps, but instead of coming up through the Swedish system, he got his training from the U.S.A.

NHL CS RANKING

Projected to go 21st overall among North American skaters.

THE STATS

From EliteProspects.com

Samuelsson is not an offensive threat. Coming up through the U.S. Development Program, teams leaned on him far more defensively than they did offensively, which is why his point tallies are so small above.

He was the captain for Team U.S.A. at the 2017-18 U18 World Junior Championship and put up a goal and an assist through the seven games that the U.S. played. The team finished with a bronze medal.

Next year, Samuelsson has committed to the University of Western Michigan in the NCAA. Should he opt to change his mind and go the route of the CHL, his rights belong to the Sarnia Sting. I would expect him to be reporting to class, though.

THE EYE TEST

As I mentioned above, Samuelsson is not an offensive threat. As such, he’s not quick on his feet, but he is quick with a pass, able to transition a play deep in his own end.

Standing at 6’4”, he’s a big player who uses his body to block shots and take away passing lanes. This makes him an ideal penalty killer.

He’s got a good shot and good hockey IQ. He’ll make a good mid-pairing defenseman one day.

IS HE A MOTOR CITY MATCH?

Any player in the first round who is a defenseman is a match for Detroit. Luckily for them, this is a very deep draft defensively. Samuelsson is a big defenseman, a trait that we know the Red Wings like. He’s left-handed, which is less of a commodity in today’s NHL, but if he can prove himself as a legit shutdown defenseman, he’ll make any team’s blueline better.

As for Detroit, I see them going for someone with a little more offensive skill in the first round. They’ve got a lot of size and shutdown on their blueline right now.