• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
It was a great Sunday for draft prospects in European junior hockey, as four of the five players on this list of top performances play overseas. And it was an especially great day for Swedes
With so much focus on Rasmus Dahlin, it's easy to forget that 2018 will be a big draft for Sweden across the board. As the Swedes eye their first No. 1 overall pick since Mats Sundin in 1989, they might also get to see the greatest number of their countrymen selected in one year.
The record for Swedish club players selected in one NHL Entry draft was set last year at 32. Even if Sweden doesn't match or exceed that number, it's clear that this is a golden age for Swedish player development.
There are three Swedes on the list below. Joining them in the top five are one Russian and one Canadian. Here they are:
AXEL ANDERSSON -- Playing in the shadow of Rasmus Dahlin, most Swedish draft-eligible defensemen can be an afterthought. Andersson stands out in the mix, however, and he was in top form on Sunday with two goals to power Stockholm Djurgarden to a 2-1 win over Karlstad. Andersson opened the scoring on a power play at 9:38 of the first period and then notched the game-winner at 10:54 of the second. He now has back-to-back games after going nine games without one. He's definitely someone to watch out for on draft day. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
JONATAN BERGGREN -- Berggren is off to an amazing start in the Swedish Top 10 junior league that marks the second half of the season. On Sunday, he kept up the momentum with two goals in Skelleftea's 3-2 win at Jonkoping. His first goal made it 1-0 on a power play at 4:22 of the opening period, and his second -- also on a man-advantage -- closed the scoring at 11:38 of the third. Berggren stretched his point streak to a remarkable 10 games. He has 21 points over the span, including two points in each of his last four games. That ties him for second in the league's scoring race. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)
SAMUEL FAGEMO -- Big things were expected of Fagemo this season, and it looked like he would be playing in the SHL. That didn't pan out, and he had a rocky start in the U20 league before pulling his game together in recent months. The revitalized Fagemo was on full display Sunday with two goals in Gothenburg U20's 4-1 win over Orebro. At 10:11 of the second period, he scored the eventual winner on a power play to make it 2-0. At 15:45 of the third, he made it a 3-1 game. Fagemo has scored two goals in two consecutive games and has points in four of his last five. With seven goals in 10 second-half games this season, he shares the team lead. (Note: Third appearance on this list in 2017-18)
MITCHELL HOELSCHER -- The Ottawa 67's center, ranked 82nd among North American skaters by Central Scouting, continued his emergence with a goal and an assist in his team's 5-3 win over Peterborough on Sunday. Hoelscher, the game's No. 2 star, scored a short-handed goal just 46 seconds into the middle period for a 2-1 lead. He later assisted on a goal at 4:52 of the third to pull the 67's into a 3-3 tie. Hoelscher's numbers aren't eye-popping -- five goals and 18 points in 49 games -- but he has back-to-back two-point games and a three-game scoring streak.
IVAN MURANOV -- Look for Muranov to be one of the first MHL players selected in June, particularly because he has great size for the NHL. The Russian left wing, who played in the top junior league's All-Star Game last month, scored two goals Sunday in Balashikha's 6-3 win over Stupino. The first goal, at 1:07 of the second period stretched the lead to 3-0, and the second, at 12:59 of the middle period, made it a 5-0 game. This was Muranov's second two-goal game over the past six and his fourth multi-goal game of the season. (Note: Fourth appearance on this list in 2017-18)