New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Victor Crus Rydberg cruises in at #21

I suppose you want Jon Sim's number too? - Claus Andersen

Has a cool name, will need to show a smart game.

Victor Crus Rydberg was drafted as a potential value pick in last summer's fifth round, billed as a two-way player with good hockey sense and a willingness to learn the North American game by coming over to the OHL to join Plymouth. A bit of a staggered start to his first North American season ended with 37 points in 62 games, and a minus-22 on a team where no one was a plus.

Though he has puck skills and smooth skating, he's not seen as a potential scorer. Rather, people see the potential to be a reliable bottom six forward -- though not by way of size. Of course it's just a matter of time and graduating steps, as well as body development, to see if that will come true at the NHL level. He's not a sexy prospect; he might be a decent player. That's gravy from a fifth rounder.

Crus Rydberg received some pro orientation with a late-season ATO to Bridgeport after his OHL season was done, where he went scoreless but got a seven-game taste of the AHL. At the team wrapup, Michael Fornabaio got some of his impressions from that stint:

I think on the ice, it’s more physical, faster. You have to keep your head up at all times. The biggest difference is life outside the ice. There’s good leadership, good guys.

He'll be back on these shores for the summer prospect camp and scrimmage. Here is how our Top 25 Islanders Under 25 ballots ranked him:

CIL Keith Mike B. Mark Mike L. Chris Dom
19 21 20 - 14 22 24

And here's a bit about why...

Chris:

Here's where a Top 25 list has you overvaluing 5th round picks.

Crus-Rydberg had a mediocre North American debut in the OHL, ranking 135th in the league in scoring. It was his first season so there's bound to be some sort of learning curve.

Crus-Rydberg has all the tools, including some great playmaking and stickhandling abilities. Problem is he hasn't been able to use them to take the next step in his development. It'll be interesting to see if he gets a contract this offseason, because a continued education at Bridgeport seems the next logical step.

Keith:

His point totals weren't too strong, but his team was pretty terrible. First season adjusting to the North American game.

Lyrically, Mike B went where no man should go:

Another "played World Juniors for his country" guy, and regarded as a promising playmaker. Seven games in Bridegport so far. Tiiiiime is on his side. #yesitis

Mike L.:

Never has a name so big been slapped on a body so small. I'm three pounds heavier than him. The talent is there; I just hope he doesn't get ground down

CIL:

Crus Rydberg is an intriguing prospect to me. He's not overly physical, nor does he bring size, but he is a smooth skater, and the stereotypical Swedish positional defensive type of player. I like the way Crus Rydberg plays centre. He's a smart player. He is unlikely to ever be a points producer, but I could see him pan out as a good bottom six centre.

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