Draft Profile: Jonas Brodin
Few draft-eligible players found themselves in a tougher spot than Jonas Brodin did last season.
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It’s difficult for any teenager to make an impression in the Swedish Elite League, much less a defenseman. It’s not an easy position to learn, especially in the top European leagues where young players tend to get buried though no fault of their own. Canes prospect Mattias Lindstrom and fellow draft hopeful Mika Zibanejad – more on him later – fit that bill.
However, Brodin, who won’t turn 18 until July 12, certainly held his own.
“At that age, I don’t care where you are,” said Jason Karmanos, the Hurricanes’ vice president and assistant general manager. “If you’re playing against men as a 17-year-old kid and you’re able to pull that off, that’s very impressive.”
“You’ve got to give him an edge for that,” said Hurricanes Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald. “It’s still a tough position to play and you’ve got lots of NHL-quality players in those leagues.”
One of a recent wave of highly-rated Swedish defensemen – after strong classes over the last few years, Adam Larsson is now expected to go in the top three, while teammate Oscar Klefbom will also appear on this list - Brodin featured prominently in Farjestad’s run to the Swedish championship, playing 42 games. He compensated for an as-of-now slender 6-foot-1, 165-pound frame with his mobility and hockey sense.
“He’s a great skater and puck mover,” said MacDonald. “He’s a very steady, smart player that’s not a real big guy, but he’s skilled and smart.”
“He’s a very smooth-skating defenseman with great agility,” said Karmanos. “He’s similar in a lot of ways to Nathan Beaulieu, although Brodin played against men all year. Even with that slight frame, he was able to play a significant role at the elite level, and that’s impressive.”
Offensive potential is an area of Brodin’s game that is up for debate. He recorded only 4 points, all assists, during the season, which could be a product of a young player trying to simplify his game in order to succeed or could also be an indication of how he projects at the next level.
“He certainly has good ability and a good talent level in all the areas you would need to produce offensively, but I’m not sure of his ultimate offensive upside,” said Karmanos.
The same could be said of Brodin’s willingness to play a more physical style. Some accounts have him seeming reserved at times, but that is not especially surprising given the circumstances. How scouts project those areas – making him either the complete package or more of a project - will likely have a lot to do with his eventual draft position.
“As he matures physically, his game should only improve,” said Karmanos.