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Backstrom is top European in draft

by Jeremy Lemoine / Boston Bruins
BOSTON - Nicklas Backstrom enters the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver as the top ranked European player on the Central Scouting Report. The flashy Swede has innate hockey sense and is projected to go somewhere in the top five.

Backstrom was named the Swedish Elite League’s rookie of the year after recording 10-16=26 totals in 46 games with Brynas in 2005-06. Backstrom also played two seasons with Brynas in Sweden’s elite junior league. There, he compiled a two-season total of 19 goals and 23 assists for 42 points through 50 games.

The 6-foot, 183-pound center displays tremendous patience when carrying the puck. Patience seems to be the recipe for his precision passing and scoring touch. Backstrom’s game has been loosely compared to that of Peter Forsberg because of his tremendous passing ability and puck control.

“(Nicklas) Backstrom is a kid with very good vision on the ice and has excellent playmaking ability,” said Scott Bradley, Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting. “He was tagged as a bit underdeveloped for a while, but he played on the first line a bit in the World Championships for Sweden (in Latvia). He doesn’t seem to be underdeveloped anymore.”

The Galve, Sweden native dressed for four games at the World Championships to help Sweden win the World Championship gold medal. Although he only played four games in Latvia, the young 18-year-old impressed many scouts with his ability to compete.

Backstrom possesses leadership qualities, strong passion and desire to succeed. Those three attributes coupled with his hockey talents make him a commodity come June 24.

Look for him to make an impact in the NHL for years to come.

Central Scouting Report:

A mobile good skater with acceleration, speed and balance … incredible hockey sense and hands … a solid all-around player with terrific over-all skill level … good offensive talent, excellent playmaker and passer … a natural scorer with a quick release and a good selection of shots … smooth hands … effective at face-offs … a creative offensive talent with excellent work ethic … finesse player who can play tough, can take and give a hit … has a very good attitude, comes out to play on every shift … in excellent shape but does need more strength … could improve on first step quickness … played both junior and senior hockey with Brynas in 2004-05 … named best forward on Brynas in the Swedish league in 2005-06 … named best forward on Swedish Under-20 at World Junior Championships … named rookie of the year in the Swedish league 2005-06.
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