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Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #56 – Lukas Elvenes

I’m feeling a little bit of deja vu today, profiling Swedish prospect Lukas Elvenes after digging into Fabian Zetterlund yesterday. The two have similar statistical profiles, leading to similar projections, but as we’ll find out, they have some fundamental differences to the way they play the game.

Elvenes has shown plenty of patience and creativity in his playmaking, and that’s one of reasons that he’s landed at number 56 on our list.

Bio:

  • Age: 18 – August 18th
  • Birthplace: Angelholm, SWE
  • Frame: 6’0″ / 174 lbs
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Handedness: Left
  • Draft Year Team: Rogle BK
  • Accomplishments/Awards: U17 WHC Bronze Medal, J20 SM Bronze Medal (15/16)

Stats

Career

Cohort Based (pGPS)

Elvenes’ cohort bears a lot of similarity to the player I profiled yesterday, Fabian Zetterlund, which makes sense given that they both split their seasons between the SuperElit league and the SHL, they both produced at roughly a point per game in junior, and both produced no points in roughly a dozen games at the highest level.

I’ve included the bubble charts for both leagues with reference to Elvenes’ cohorts, so you can get an impression of the type of players that he’s matched up with historically. At the pro level, it’s basically the same group as Zetterlund, which includes Nicklas Backstrom and Frans Nielsen. One match in Elvenes’ cohort that wasn’t present in Zetterlund’s is Henrik Sedin.

His SuperElit cohort is also interesting, with Loui Eriksson, Gustav Nyquist, Carl Hagelin and Mikkel Boedker comprising the successful matches. Both cohorts have fairly high expected point totals, leading to high values from both as well. As would be expected, the SHL cohort supplies more optimistic numbers.

Scouts

From Future Considerations:

A skilled winger with solid vision and playmaking ability…an agile skater with solid edgework…keeps his feet going  and manages to reach top speed in a hurry with short, quick strides…uses his separation gear to blow past defenders or his soft hands to deke through them…creative with his puck handling and passing ability…has a quick release on his shot…battles hard for pucks…type of player who’s eyes light up when he sees a loose puck…explosive once the rubber touches his blade, turning up-ice quickly on transition…very often tries to deke the world out instead of making the simple play…does not engage consistently on defense but when he does he is effective at slowing down the opposition with sticks in lanes and puck pressure…not a physical player but does use his body to shield the puck…needs to get stronger to improve his overall effectiveness…an offensive gifted winger with solid pro potential as a two-way guy.

From The Draft Analyst:

Smart two-way forward with good speed who was a mainstay for Team Sweden at several international events. He was a reliable scorer for Rogle, and quite often he was the only forward contributing in all three zones. His speed and tenacity causes havoc on the forecheck, but Elvenes is one of the few draft eligibles who can make bang-bang plays immediately after throwing their weight around.

From Jimmy Hamrin of McKeen’s Hockey:

A skilled and offensively creative playmaking forward that has shown consistency in producing points at junior level. Lucas Elvenes needs to improve his speed to become a top six forward in the NHL and that is the biggest question mark for me as he is not that strong or tough either. His agility and creativeness are great but at the NHL level he would probably need more speed and strength to be effective. He shows potential and should get drafted with a slot between the third and fifth rounds being reasonable.

From Corey Pronman of ESPN (Snippet only – full article behind paywall):

He has great puck skills, he’s patient in how he creates offense and he can make plays to his teammates. He’s a brutal skater though, which scouts note can be accentuated by an occasional lack of hustle in his game.

Our Take

As mentioned in the Stats section above, Elvenes’ numbers in both the SHL and SuperElit bear resemblance to Fabian Zetterlund’s leading to similar statistical projections, but they are in fact two very different players. Where Zetterlund is far more of a shooter, Elvenes is more of a passer. His strengths reside in finding teammates with crisp passes through traffic, and although he does have something of a goal scorer’s touch, most of his goals come from in tight, as he doesn’t beat a lot of goalies from distance.

There are a variety of takes available on his skating ability, but praise of criticism cannot be dished out so generally, but rather after breaking his skating down into components. His acceleration, for instance, actually appears to be quite good. He’s and agile skater with good side-to-side movement, and he gets up to top speed in a hurry – the problem is that his top speed isn’t very high. It’s average at best for his age group, and that is something that is certainly going to need to improve going forward if he hopes to be a difference maker at the professional level.

Elvenes showed improvement in his production rate over the course of the season in junior. He was a point per game player in the first leg of the Superelit season (24 points in 24 games), but upped that to 21 points in 17 games during the second leg. Like Zetterlund’s Farjestad BK though, Elvenes’ Rogle BK spent the second leg in the Continuation group – that is, the bottom five teams from each conference, which should equal slightly easier competition. His boost from one leg to the next was not nearly as pronounced as Zetterlund’s was, so I’m more inclined to say that the change in competition accounted for a greater portion of the improvement on offence.

That shouldn’t take away from his otherwise solid numbers though. It’s also worth noting that despite the fact that Elvenes is more of a setup man than a shooter, he still averaged well over 2 shots/game in the SuperElit league, with his shot rate improving in the second half. He was also snakebitten in the second leg, scoring on just 6.1% of his shots in those 17 games, indicating that his goal totals could reasonably have been a lot higher.

Elvenes can’t really blame a low shooting percentage for his lack of goals at the SHL level – he had just three shots on net in 12 games. Even after considering that he only played 3:01 per game (a trend with these Swedish tweeners), his per hour shot rate is around average. Elvenes didn’t receive any special teams time either. It’s probably a bit of a confidence booster to be up with the pro team from junior, but as a commenter noted on a recent article, it’s kind of a shame that these guys spend 57 minutes of game time sitting on the bunch when they could be playing 20 minutes a night in junior.

Elvenes has made a few appearances for Sweden internationally in recent years, most recently at the U18’s in Slovakia, where he collected three assists in seven games. Elvenes was typically deployed on the third line and second power play unit, so it’s not like he was overflowing with opportunity, but it doesn’t exactly seem like he made the most of it either. Elvenes has had success in other international tournaments as well, like the Five Nations tournaments, so it’s not all bad news.

Lukas Elvenes is a creative player, one that can hold on to the puck under pressure and will find teammates in open spots. He needs some improvement in his speed, as many prospects in this region of the rankings do, but he’s got the intelligence and creativity to play and produce at higher levels. He’s not likely to be more than a depth scorer in the future, but those players still have plenty of value if they turn out.


The Canucks Army/Nation Network Top 100

#57 Jake Leschyshyn #58 Fabian Zatterlund
#59 ALEXANDER CHMELEVSKI #60 MAX GILDON
#61 AUSTEN KEATING #62 ADAM RUZICKA
#63 – #66 #67 – #70
#71 – #75 #76 – #80
#81 – #85 #86 – #90
#91 – #95 #96 – #100