The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft will take place on July 23. Following the results of the draft lottery, the Flames hold the 12th overall selection and will have a chance to add a high-end prospect to their organization.
Next up is another promising Swedish prospect in the form of versatile winger Oskar Olausson.
A product of Stockholm, Sweden, Olausson is a November 2002 born player who is listed as 6’2″ and 180 pounds. He’s a left shot forward who plays both wings and has played a lot of hockey over the past year.
Alexander Appleyard of Smaht Scouting discussed what makes Olausson such an exciting player for scouts:
The four S’s of scouting are the foundations that virtually every prospect either needs, or needs to have the potential to develop, to one day become a good NHLer. Skating, speed, skill and smarts. Olausson ticks all of those boxes already. And if on a true alliterative bent his shot and strength are also abnormally well developed for his age.
Over at Dobber Prospects, Nick Richard summarized Olausson’s overall toolkit:
Olausson’s greatest asset is his skating ability, with speed to burn and the lateral mobility to weave through tight spaces. He has a good release, a decent one-timer from the half wall on the powerplay, and a keen sense of spacing in the offensive zone. He plays a heady game and uses his closing speed to be a disruptive forechecker, forcing opposing defenders into rushed passes and panicked dump outs. Olausson’s toolkit is well rounded and even if he never develops into a big-time offensive threat, he projects pretty safely as a reliable two-way winger at the NHL level
Olausson played much of this season for HV71 of the SHL, the same team that Flames prospect Johannes Kinnvall played for. The Flames likely know him well.
To give a sense of how much he bounced around between junior, the SHL, Allsvenskan and World Juniors, here’s how Olausson’s season unfolded:
- Sept. 9-22 (J20): 7 GP, 6 G, 5 A, 11 PTS
- Sept. 26 (SHL): 1 GP, 0 PTS
- Sept. 27 (J20): 1 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 PT
- Oct. 1-8 (SHL): 3 GP, 0G, 1 A, 1 PT
- Oct. 10-16 (J20), 4 GP, 5 G, 3 A, 8 PTS
- Oct. 17 (SHL): 1 GP, 0 PTS
- Oct. 21-30 (J20): 4 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 7 PTS
- Nov. 24-Dec. 5 (SHL): 6 GP, 3 G, 0 A, 3 PTS
- Dec. 26-Jan. 2 (World Juniors): 4 GP, 0 PTS
- Jan. 7-21 (SHL): 6 GP, 0 PTS
- Jan. 29-Mar. 14 (Allsvenskan): 11 GP, 3 G, 3A, 6 PTS
- Mar. 23-29 (Allsvenskan playoffs): 2 GP, 0 PTS
- Apr. 6-18 (SHL playoffs): 2 GP, 0 PTS (played 34 seconds combined)
That’s a ton of bouncing around, yet he managed to contribute fairly effectively wherever he landed.
Overall, Olausson had a strong year compared to his peer group. He was tied for fifth in the J20 Nationell in points (and was fourth in points-per-game). In the SHL, he was tied for fifth in points-per-game among teenagers. He was tied for third in points among teens in the Allsvenskan, too. And he was the youngest skater for Sweden at the World Juniors, playing in four of their five games.
Availability and fit
Olausson sure feels like a Flames pick, doesn’t he? He’s a toolsy two-way winger who might not project as a star, but he seems like a good bet to be a rock-solid player akin to a Mikael Backlund or Michael Frolik. But the Flames tend to prioritize defenders and centres in the first round, so while Olausson is a strong prospect the club may opt towards other positions and with higher ceilings.
Here’s a snapshot of where the major draft evaluators have Olausson relative to the rest of the 2021 class:
McKeen’s Hockey — 20th
Future Considerations — 48th
The Athletic (Corey Pronman) — 26th
Dobber Prospects — 13th
TSN (Bob McKenzie) — 26th
Draft Prospects Hockey — 30th
NHL Central Scouting (European Skaters) — 13th
Recruit Scouting — 24th
EliteProspects.com — 14th
Smaht Scouting — 16th
At 12th overall, he might be a slight reach over the other players expected to be available.