Johan Sundstrom is one of those Europe-based prospects about whom North American fans have an information deficit: Reports from those who have seen him and verified his role have positive things to say, but the available video and stats are wanting.
Nonetheless, his 6'3" frame, oft-cited multiple skills, "hockey sense" and willingness to "enter traffic" combine with checking roles combine to hint he might end up being one of those fundamentally well trained Swedish forwards. Selected 50th overall in 2011, he debuted on our first New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25 list last fall at #20.
That he's dropped to 24 on our pooled May 2012 ranking isn't so much due to a quiet season as it is to the 20-25 range being a toss-up on our list. Hell, it might be because he's just too handsome.
At the 2012 World Junior Championship he again was used in a defensive role while putting up 1-4-5 in six games. His stats with Frölunda -- six goals, five assists in 49 games -- again underwhelm, but the usual "playing with men" and role caveats apply.
The hope here is not of a dynamic scorer but one of those solid all-around forwards who you can send out against good lines and in PK situations. As always, we'll see.
Panelists: CanadianIslesLifer making a return appearance, as well as most of the authors at LHH.
He just missed my own top 25, but I can't give you a great reason other than "I done seen some" of Persson. Also, I have Kirill Petrov and Anders Lee in my top 25, while some voters dumped them out of fear they won't be in the picture.
No one else made our averaged top 25 while being left off three ballots, so it could be fun seeing who ends up looking good. I actually have decent hopes for him, but I'm a sucker for toolsy all-around players. One day yet I'll get a 6'3" Frans Nielsen.
The Islanders have another year before they have to sign Sundström or lose his rights (assuming current CBA and transfer agreements continue). I'm looking forward to hearing what our Swedish readers think of the prospect one year after his draft.
Late Addition: Scouting Report from the WJC
Adding this Hockey Prospects game report from the WJC for the record, since it notes a lot of the attributes we've discussed:
Big 2 way forward who plays a great game along the boards. Showed a ton of strength and work ethic by constantly coming away with the puck from battles. Goes to the net hard and plays a gritty game. Got awarded with a goal by tipping a point shot about knee high. Defensively, one of the hardest working forwards. Always getting in lanes and winning battles to get pucks out. Very dependable on a consistent basis.
Create Your Own 25U25
We added this to the last post, and JP is still collecting ballots: There was interest in creating an even broader consensus 25U25 among the regulars here, so JPinVA has volunteered to do the consensus-ing. His instructions, if you have your own 25:
Disclaimers and Links You'll See with Each 25U25 Post
You can see which other prospects just missed our top 25 in this preview post.
As you'll see with players in this 20-25 range, there's enough difference of opinion -- and uncertainty -- that some of them made ballots and some didn't.
To reflect the variety of ways you can place value on prospects with uncertain futures, we brought a range of philosophies to this: Some voters valued present talent/maturity more, some valued future potential more. All are averaged with the intent of capturing a moment in time in the evolution of the Islanders prospect pipeline.