The New York Islanders have selected Swedish center Viktor Crus Rydberg with their fifth-round pick (136th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft. Crus Rydberg is a two-way center coming up through Linköping's system.
If you think the middle and late rounds of the NHL Draft make easy, predictable sense, you're not really paying attention. Names fly off the board quickly in the later rounds, and opinions on where each player rates vary widely.
Crus Rydberg, for his part, was considered by several to be a better bet than any of the Islanders' third- and fourth-round picks, where the Islanders went with college goalies and one high-upside but undersized scorer.
While not diminutive like Taylor Cammarata, Crus Rydberg is still of below-average size at barely 6'0.
Here is how Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus describes Crus Rydberg, whom Pronman ranked 75th:
Crus Rydberg is a player who teams can dream on, as he is a very talented forward who displays significant upside on his best nights. He was a top-six center for Sweden in U18 international play. He has good hands as well as high-end offensive creativity and vision. His ability with the puck is impressive, as he can make quality passes and good plays in tight. Overall, he shows an advanced understanding of the game, evident in his quick decisions. He has impressive puck possession skills to go along with his good speed. While he is not a blazer, he does have an above-average top gear. His issues will come from refining particular aspects of his game. Crus Rydberg is a little small, at 5’11", and he is not exactly the meanest player on the ice. He could stand to be a little more consistent, although he has a good work ethic and he covers his assignments defensively.
And here's Elite Prospects:
Crus Rydberg is a very smart and skilled playmaker. Impressive hockey sense and passing ability. Stickhandles well through heavy traffic and makes room for himself and his teammates. Not a natural goal scorer, but has a good release. Two-way ability is good. Should work on his consistency, acceleration and skating, a bit, although it is not a major concern.
Finally, Blueshirt Banter:
His quick decision-making and composure on the puck make him an attractive option for teams. He shows good speed, puts in a shift defensively and often opens up space with his quick hands. Consistency may be the one real knock against him, but that he has the tools is undeniable.
Crus Rydberg spent much of 2012-13 with Linköping's J20 side, posting a PPG pace with 35 points in 35 games. He iced just once for Linköping's SEL roster, but performed well for Sweden at Under-18 level during the year.
The Islanders' next pick is in the sixth round, 166th overall.