Having already profiled the projected top two picks in the upcoming draft, Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, we're now taking a look at some players who might be available in the second round.
Weight: 203 lbs
NHL Central Scouting Ranking: #7 among European skaters
Tobias Björnfot just captained Sweden's Under-18 team to a gold medal at the IIHF U-18 World Championships. He has been a staple on Swedish international squads and has found himself taking leadership roles on most of those rosters. He also captained Sweden at the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament, where he helped his team win the silver medal, and was apart of the Under-18 Swedish team that won bronze in the 2018 IIHF World Championships.
While his statistics may not top the leaderboards, it's his defensive presence that has been vital to the success of any team he has been a part of. Scouts say Björnfot defends very well against the rush and is constantly blocking shots, showing excellent positioning and control in the defensive zone. His intelligence and hockey IQ allows him to break up plays and intercept passes quickly and transition the puck out of his own end.
"He was captain of the (Hlinka-Gretzky tournament) under-18 team, strong character, does everything well," says a scout, per The Hockey News. "He puts the team first, puts the forwards in good positions and consistently makes the right decisions with or without the puck."
Björnfot was able to get some experience at the professional level playing seven regular-season games and four playoff games in the Swedish Hockey League for Djurgårdens. Prior to the SHL, he was a key factor for the Djurgårdens junior team, recording 11 goals and 11 assists in 39 games along with three points in seven playoff games. Djurgårdens finished third in the league and Björnfot was awarded the league's best defenseman award.
Björnfot is seen as one of the safest picks in the draft. He's a reliable two-way defender with excellent speed, high hockey IQ, and proven leadership skills.
"HE SKATES VERY WELL, IS SMART AND PLAYS HARD"
"Björnfot played the most minutes for Sweden, being leaned on in all situations, especially once they had injury issues. He's not a highlight reel kind of player, but he skates very well, is smart and plays hard. He may have been the toughest defender to beat in the event with how well he closes gaps and maintains a good position on checks." - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
"A LOT OF CHARACTER"
"If you want to go safer, Tobias Björnfot from Sweden. Another defenseman, he's worn a letter for the Swedes a couple of times internationally and he's a pretty safe, two-way guy. A lot of character. He's another player who is probably available early in that second round." - Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News