Photo Credit: Dobbler Prospects
Canucks at Five will be a series consisting of draft profiles for potential selections at 5th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
By Scott Rosenhek
Timothy Liljegren is another top ranked offensive defenceman in this year’s draft. His season has been interesting to say the least. He is a right-handed defenceman, with NHL size at 6’0 and 192 lbs. It is rumored that the Canucks still have a lot of interest in the Swedish defencemen, appearing to fit what the team may be looking for.
Liljegren’s draft rankings are approximately in the 6-8 range, but he started the season as the second best ranked prospect. Craig Button has him ranked at 11th. What happened? Well, Timothy Liljegren missed the start of the SHL season with mononucleosis. This could not have come at a worse time because at the age of 16, he put up 5 points in 19 games in the highest professional league in Sweden (the SHL). This drop in rankings is eerily similar to the drop Jakob Chychrun saw in last year’s draft.
Spectators were intrigued to see the amount of growth Liljegren would show in his draft year. After recovering from Mono, it took time to get his play back up to speed. This would cost Liljegren a roster spot on Team Sweden in the U20 World Junior Championships, since 16-year-old Rasmus Dahlin (top prospect for 2018) took his place.
Despite the obstacles that plagued his season, Liljegren finished his season strong, matching his production from the previous year (5 points in 19 games). His team, Rogle BK finished near the bottom of the standings, so he did not gain any playoff experience in the SHL this season. Liljegren will be playing in the SHL next year as his contract runs until the end of 2017-18.
Timothy Liljegren is an offensive threat with a great shot and excels in his skating ability. He is defensively responsible and would be a nice piece to the Canucks power play to act as a quarterback. One issue people have started to notice concerns his hockey sense. Liljegren will occasionally get himself into trouble by skating around instead of using his teammates.
It is also worth noting that Timothy Liljegren had an opportunity to redeem himself against his peer group in the Under-18 World Junior Championships. However, he only produced 2 points in 7 games and was overshadowed by the performances of Miro Heiskanen and Erik Brannstrom.
Despite the negativity that is surrounding Liljegren as a late faller in the draft, he still has upside as a future power play quarterback with the potential as a top pairing defenceman. He put up good numbers in a men’s league as a 17-year-old that had to overcome Mono at the beginning of his season.
Liljegren may not be my favourite over someone with a higher ceiling like Makar, but I think he would be a reasonable choice where the Canucks are picking. Just keep in mind, that from this point on we will be entering the debate as to whether the pick is considered a “reach.” Nonetheless, I see Liljegren as a very reasonable selection in 2017.
Here are links to Timothy Liljegren’s highlights from SEER Video: