NEWARK, N.J. – Robert Hagg has seen Peter Forsberg hanging around the Modo Hockey Club in Sweden. He now has something to ask him.
What’s Philadelphia like?
Hagg, 18, a 6-2, 204-pound defenseman was the Flyers second round pick, No. 41 overall.
It is the first time the Flyers have drafted defensemen with their first two picks in the draft since 1976.
A well-rounded, two-way defenseman who has power play quarterbacking capabilities, Hagg played his best hockey for the Swedish World Junior team where he won a silver medal.
“That was my best hockey in Ufa,” Hagg said. “I had a really good tournament there.”
He is an explosive skater who loves to have the puck on his stick. And while he excels in the offensive end of the rink, he is also a smart defenseman positionally without the puck and is another hard-hitter.
“I like to use my body defensively but I want to make sure I stay out of the [penalty] box,” Hagg said.
He was captain of the Swedish u-18 team and says he likes being thrust into leadership roles.
“It’s not special to me (to be a captain) because I’m going to play the same [no matter what],” Hagg said. “But, I like to be a leader on the ice and off the ice too.”
Hagg has a lot of potential, but lacks consistency and is still considered raw and a bit of a project, which is why he slipped from the first round into the second.
However, the Flyers are willing to be patient with him to see if he develops into the dynamic defenseman they feel he can be.
“I won’t be ready to play in the NHL until I play with men in Sweden,” Hagg said. “Maybe two more years for Modo then we’ll see if I can come over and play in the NHL or the American League.”
The International Scouting service had him ranked No. 31 overall, one spot ahead of Flyers first round pick Samuel Morin.
The ISS compared Hagg to Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson.