Read: Calle Andersson Prospect Preview
In the 2011 NHL Draft, most of the talk regarding the Rangers draft day was centered on 1st and 2nd round selections of Brady Skjei and Boo Nieves. However, in the 4th round the Rangers just might have found a diamond in the rough by selecting Defenseman Calle Andersson; which could turn out to be one of the best 4th round selections in Ranger history. Ironically, the Rangers also drafted Calle’s father. Peter, in the 4th round in 1992 (played 39 games over two seasons from 1992-94). “He’s a very gifted passer, which is what you need from the defense position in today’s game” said Ranger Draft guru Gordie Clark. The 6’2/211 pound Andersson is a right hand shooter and is an excellent skater and an even more efficient passer. While playing for Farjestad Junior team in Sweden, Andersson collected 12 goals and 24 assists in 49 games. According to many in the Rangers organization, Andersson is developing ahead of schedule and could be poised to compete for a roster spot as early as 2014.
Andersson has seven goals and six assists playing for Farhestad’s under 20 team this year.
While playing six games with the big club in Farjestad, Andersson is scoreless.
CLICK HERE for a section dedicated to Andersson.
Here are a few scouting reports on Andersson:
THN.com: Andersson is a very good skater; he accelerates quickly and skates with good top end speed. He has good agility and excellent edgework which allows him to make crisp pivots and tight turns. He is able to quickly change direction and this quickness helps him to stop the opponent’s rushes. Andersson is also a fluid and quick backwards skater. He is well balanced and strong on his skates, which makes him tough to knock off the puck. Andersson has some very good offensive skills as well as his point shot is accurate and he has a good release and one-timer. He has good hockey IQ and understands when to pinch or join the rush. Andersson is an effective stick-handler and protects the puck well from his opponents. Andersson’s defensive game is unpolished as he will often go for the stick check when he should be looking to lay a hit on the opposition. Andersson projects as a slick defenseman with offensive flair. We would compare his max potential to become a defenseman similar to Marek Zidicky.
Red Line Report (RLR): Andersson style of play is compared to Christian Backman. “A mobile defender with good size (6’2/211). Andersson stood out for all the right reasons during the U-18 WJC. He found himself logging major minutes in all critical and crucial situations. An effective two-way blue-liner who gets his stick in the passing lanes and uses his strong skating ability to position himself in the defensive zone. He will need to use his size more at the next levels (AHL and NHL), but has the potential to be a top 4 defensemen.
Hockey’s Future: Currently rated as the Rangers 3rd best defensemen (Brady Skjei and Dylan McIIrath) in their system, Andersson shows flashes of his skill, but there appears to be a dimension of his game that is missing. He struggled against better competition at the World U18 Championships because he wasn’t quick enough to make plays with the puck. His skating is above average as he has a good stride and shows some explosiveness out of the gate. Andersson will return to U20 juniors next season; which should give him ample ice time to iron out his game.
Strengths: Very mobile and is an exceptional passer. Steady in all three zones and has a very high hockey intelligence. Well above average skater with a well rounded game.
Weaknessess: Will need to be more physical at the next levels (AHL and NHL). At times, relies on stick checks instead of using the body and makes poor decisions on defensive coverage.
Futue Analysis: Many believe that Andersson was a steal in the 4th round and has the potential to be a solid top 4 two-way defenseman in the NHL. Still needs some developing to compete by 2014. There have been many comparsions regarding Andersson ( Christian Backman and Marek Zidicky). While comparsions are similar; to me, Andersson reminds me a great deal of former Ranger Kim Johnsson.