It took about four and a half hours for the Boston Bruins to make their very first selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, but once the time finally came–past the first round, with its pomp, circumstance and team representatives heading to the stage all done away with in favor of a quicker-moving draft–general manager Peter Chiarelli and the gang picked Swedish defenseman Linus Arnesson.
The lowdown on Arnesson is as such: born in September 1994, the young Swede has most currently played for Djurgarden in the Swedish second-tier league, the Allsvenskan. Note that in the Allsvenskan, well-performing teams can earn the chance to upgrade to Elitserien–and Elitserien teams can fall down a tier as well–from year to year. He’s been in the Djurgarden system for ages, playing for their U16, J18 and J20 squads.
He’s won two silver medals playing with the Tre Kronor at the U20 Worlds, was the top defenseman of the 2013 U20 World Championship and was on the 2009-10 gold medal TV-pucken team. TV-pucken is an elite hockey tourney for U15 players from all over the country and is kind of a big deal for Swedish players in terms of getting their career off to a good start. (Fellow TV-pucken champs now playing in the big show include Viktor Stalberg, Jhonas Enroth, Robin Lehner and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.)
The scouts’ views on Arnesson tend to be positive yet middle-of-the-road. The brilliant Kirk Luedeke describes him as such: “Arnesson is a fine skater with fluid movements and good speed as a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder. He plays an effective defense-first style, with an active stick and strong gap control. However, the hoped-for offensive dimension never emerged, as he finished with a single assist in 31 games.”
On the other hand, an unnamed Western Conference scout said he felt disappointed in Arnesson, unsure of his ability to run the power play or score. Elite Hockey Prospects was a little more positive: “Arnesson is not flashy at all, but always gets the job done. Has good positioning, makes easy and smart plays and rarely puts himself or his teammates in complicated situations.”
Chiarelli himself characterized Arnesson as a “versatile defenseman, good skater, not necessarily a banger but a solid, two-way defenseman.”
So at the age of 18, Arnesson has a relatively solid defensive game with some attendant issues. But the fact is that Boston’s defense corps is starting to age. Sure, there’s the spry young Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton, but Chiarelli is playing the long game with this pick. He’ll surely take some time to mature, perhaps with some more seasons in Sweden.
Better yet, the newest Bruin has a Twitter.
Im very happy to be selected by the Boston Bruins! And yes I speak english #veryhappy
— Linus Arnesson (@ArnessonLinus) June 30, 2013