I think people are taking the "loose comparables" too much to heart. They are supposed to provide a basic idea of a player's style as well as a range of what that player could become. One might argue that Keith Yandle and Brian Leetch are very similar in style. That doesn't mean that Yandle is as good as Leetch was. It's a comparison of playing style and what their roles were. Thus, dismissing a prospect just because he was LOOSELY compared to one player that you're not a fan of doesn't make much sense.
Rasmus Andersson, Barrie Colts (Ontario Hockey League)
Position: Right Defensemen
Age: 18 Years Old
Height/Weight: 6'0, 212 lb
2014-2015 Stats (Including Playoffs): 76 GP, 13 G, 55 A, 94 PIM, +13
NHL Central Scouting: 93rd (NA Skaters)
Bob McKenzie (TSN): 59th
Future Considerations: 60th
Corey Pronman (ESPN): 27th
Craig Button (TSN): 31st
International Scouting Services: 107th
Andersson is the younger brother of 2012 fourth-round pick Calle Andersson and the son of former Ranger Peter Andersson. Family ties are not a great reason, in isolation, to draft a player, but the familiarity sure doesn't hurt.
Like the other defensemen I've profiled, Andersson is an offensively-inclined defenseman.There generally seem to be two kinds of defensemen on the power play; one are the Sheldon Souray's who serve as the triggerman and are just fed pucks to blast. Then there are the Yandle's who act as point guard and distribute the puck. Andersson is the best of both worlds. He has that heavy shot which makes him a lethal shooter from the point.
That being said, Andersson is not a one-trick pony. He has tremendous puck poise and good vision. Thus, he provides for his teammates as well. One of his favorite moves is to fake the slap shot to bait the defense and goaltender, only to dish the puck to a teammate.
Andersson is just generally efficient with the puck on his stick. He doesn't get intimidated by the opposition closing in on him. He likes to delay with the puck to open up space for himself or wait for the right passing lane to open.
Defensively, Andersson is perfectly capable. He is good with gap control and breaks up a lot of plays before they really develop.
Similar thing in this next clip, but in the defensive end. He keeps enough space between him and the puck carrier to not get burned but not too much to allow him to make a play. Great body positioning to prevent a shooting lane from emerging.
His ability to read the play allows him to see where he needs to be two steps ahead of time. This works in both ends. In the offensive end, it means pinching at the right times and getting to pucks before the opposition can, thus preventing an opposition transition and keeping the play alive for his team.
In the other end, it means seeing a breakdown about to occur and anticipating where he'll need to be to prevent it from hurting his team.
Andersson is just an all-around intelligent defenseman who can make plays in all areas of the ice. Where the question marks emerge are on the physical side. His skating is not outright terrible, but leaves a lot to be desired. His skating stride is clunky and and his agility and acceleration are not where you'd hope it would be. On the offensive side, it stifles his efficiency. He has the mental ability to rush the puck up the ice but lacks the foot speed to put the opposition on their heels. Defensively, it creates problems on the back check and with keeping up with speedy wingers.
That perhaps goes in hand with the fact that he's just not in great shape. He kind of looks like a former all-star in one of the alumni games, where the hands and vision are as sharp as ever but he's huffing and puffing after a 30-second shift. That's an exaggerated comparison - Andersson obviously doesn't struggle to that extent - but his endurance isn't where it needs to be and he doesn't get around the ice as easily as one would hope.
The good news on that front is that, according to Hockey Prospect's review of Andersson, he gave all the right answers in interviews with NHL scouts. He knows that he needs to get in better shape and improve his skating. An NHL team is going to give Andersson a training regiment and a dietary plan, and he supposedly is a guy who will be open to making the necessary changes to improve his fitness.
A Smaller Cody Franson
I think a few things are working against Andersson. First is that this is a draft loaded with talented defensemen, and perhaps he doesn't have the extreme upside as a super star like some other defensemen ranked ahead of him. Andersson's realistic peak is probably as a very good second-pairing defenseman who plays all situations, and there's nothing wrong with that for a second-round selection. I also believe some people are taking for granted the fact that this was Andersson's first season in North America; he previously played his entire life in Sweden. The transition to North America can be a daunting task on the ice as well as away from the rink. I imagine next season will be a lot easier for him than this past one was.
Especially with it becoming more-and-more likely that the Rangers will be adding a draft pick in the top-two rounds, Andersson is absolutely within reach for the Rangers, and he'd be a perfectly good selection. The Rangers sure could use an intelligent defenseman in all areas of the ice who makes plays in the offensive zone and has a hard shot. Him being on the right side, the weaker of side of the Rangers' defensive depth chart, doesn't hurt either.
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