Michael Brandsegg-Nygård could become the highest-drafted Norwegian player ever

Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
26 days ago
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The National Hockey League used to be purely the domain of Canadian players, but over the years we’ve seen an influx of talent from around the world. Over the past few decades, a few countries have taken big steps in establishing themselves as sources of NHL players.
Thus far, nine players from Norway have played in the NHL. None of them have been first-round draft picks. This year, forward Michael Brandsegg-Nygård could change that.

Scouting report

A product of Oslo, Norway, Brandsegg-Nygård is an October 2005 birthday – making him one of the older first-time draft eligible players in the 2024 class. He’s a right shot forward who primarily plays the wing, and is listed at 6’1″ and 198 pounds.
Brandsegg-Nygård came up through the Vålerenga system within Norwegian hockey. He moved into Swedish hockey in 2022, where he played two seasons with Mora IK, splitting his time primarily between their under-20 team and their pro side in Sweden’s second division HockeyAllsvenskan. He’s signed with Skellefteå AIK of the SHL for the 2024-25 season.
In addition to his club experience, Brandsegg-Nygård has represented Norway at the Division 1A Under-18 Worlds and World Juniors, and the top-division World Juniors and World Hockey Championship.
In November, The Hockey News’ Tony Ferrari had a very concise assessment of Brandsegg-Nygård’s game: “There aren’t many players in this draft class who blend the pro habits and intellect of a pro player with the puck skill and offensive instincts the way that Brandsegg-Nygard does.”
In March, Sportsnet’s Jason Bukala had a rundown of Brandsegg-Nygård’s season as part of his analysis of the top 50 players in the draft:
I appreciate the growth in Michael’s game this season. He represented Norway at the world juniors, scoring 3G-2A, and has contributed 4G-2A in his most recent 10-game segment playing for Mora at the pro level in Sweden. His speed has gone to another level and his three-zone detail has become more trustworthy. What I especially appreciate is his willingness to battle for pucks, and his positioning awareness. He doesn’t shy away from the hard areas of the ice. He pushes through checks for results.
Over at Dobber Prospects, Seth Ditchfield shared his thoughts on Brandsegg-Nygård in April:
Brandsegg-Nygård is arguably the most NHL-ready player in this class, except, of course, for Celebrini. He embodies the essence of a Swiss army knife forward who can immediately jump in and impact your penalty kill. His defensive instincts are among the highest in the class; combined with his intensity and proactive efforts off the puck, he poses a threat in nearly every facet of the game. Nygård took the label of “defensive forward” rather personally, setting a new record for points by a draft-eligible player in the HockeyAllsvenskan Playoffs with 10 points across 12 games. His shot is powerful and swiftly released, his nose for the net is keen, and he fluidly creates opportunities on the rush. He uses robust stride and powerful puck protection skills to drive those challenging areas. His adaptability and puck confidence are impressive, displaying all the hallmarks of an invaluable support forechecker on any line. He can almost immediately boost an NHL roster, and his versatility should prove to be very exciting for NHL franchises, as he’s capable of adapting seamlessly through any line or any situation his team may need him in.
The scouting consensus is that Brandsegg-Nygård is smart, versatile, toolsy and he’s played parts of two seasons in one of Sweden’s top leagues. It’s unclear if he has any attributes that are “elite,” but he really doesn’t seem to have holes in his game. It’s easy to see why there’s a good amount of buzz around him this year.

The numbers

Brandsegg-Nygård had five goals and seven assists for 12 points in seven J20 Nationell games with Mora IK. He also had eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points in 41 HockeyAllsvenskan games – and 10 points in 12 qualification playoff games. He also played five games at the World Juniors and had five points. (He’s currently at the World Championships, representing Norway.)
Brandsegg-Nygård was third in points among undrafted under-21 players in the Allsvenskan in the regular season. He was the outright leader in points among undrafted under-21 players in the qualification playoffs.

Availability and fit

In terms of fit, while Brandsegg-Nygård isn’t a centre – and that’s kinda what the Flames need – he’s such a toolsy player that pretty much any NHL club could use a player with his skill-set. Obviously if there’s a player with an elite attribute or two available, they might nudge ahead of him in the Flames’ draft list, but he’s legit good. The Flames also recently signed Mora’s starting goaltender, Waltteri Ignatjew, so they’re definitely familiar with Brandsegg-Nygård’s game.
Brandsegg-Nygård exists in an awkward in-between in terms of his availability to the Flames. He’s shown up on scouting rankings typically in the teens – though he’s appeared as early as seventh (Ferrari’s list at The Hockey News) or as late as 29th (Craig Button). His typical ranking has been somewhere between 15th and 19th. The Flames drafted at ninth overall and then again likely around 28th or 29th. It doesn’t seem likely that he’s around for their late pick (from Vancouver), and selecting him at ninth overall may be a little bit of a stretch.
Marius Holtet was selected 42nd overall by Dallas in 2002 and is the top Norwegian pick in NHL Draft. Brandsegg-Nygård seems like a safe bet to make a little history in late June.

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