Michael Brandsegg-Nygard

The 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held June 28-29 at Sphere in Las Vegas. The first round will be June 28 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS) and Rounds 2-7 are June 29 (11:30 a.m. ET; ESPN+, NHLN, SN, SN1). NHL.com is counting down to the draft with in-depth profiles on top prospects, podcasts and other features. Today, a profile on right wing Michael Brandsegg-Nygard of Mora in Sweden's second division. NHL.com's full draft coverage can be found here.

Michael Brandsegg-Nygard moved away from home at age 16, but believes it was the best decision for his development path to the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft.

As a result, the right-shot forward prospect, No. 5 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters, gained valuable playing time and experience playing at the junior and senior level in Sweden, and vaulted himself into extremely rare air as a potential first-round pick at the 2024 draft born in Norway.

"I could play in the men's league back home in Norway, but I felt that wasn't the right path for me because I don't think I was going to play that much there," Brandsegg-Nygard said. "So I moved to Sweden and played in the under-20 [league] there and got to play a couple of games with the men's league there. Then I was good enough to sign a contract with Mora in Sweden. I played there this year and I think I did pretty good. I developed a lot of my skills and the physical part in the gym."

The early returns have been evident.

Brandsegg-Nygard (6-foot-1, 207 pounds), from Oslo, had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 41 games in Allsvenskan, Sweden's second-highest professional league. He also had 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in seven games with Mora's team in Sweden's junior league,

He impressed, to say the least.

"Michael is one of the best prospects from Norway for years," NHL director of European Scouting Jukka-Pekka Vuorinen said. "He makes good decisions with the puck and can see the ice very well. He looks very confident and poised with the puck. He is strong on his skates and has fair first-step quickness He has smooth hands and his wrister is dangerous."

Those compliments show that the 18-year-old, who is a self-described "physical guy, two-way forward, power forward," made the right decision in moving away from home.

"I like the physical game and I think I have good control of the puck," Brandsegg-Nygard said. "Maybe my best skill is my shot. I think I have a heavy shot. I feel like I have great hockey sense. I can read the game well and make plays."

He showcased those skills in league and international play throughout the season.

In addition to making an impact with Mora, Brandsegg-Nygard had five points (three goals, two assists) in five games for Norway at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, and also had five points (three goals, two assists) in seven games for Norway at the 2024 IIHF World Championship in May, where he was the third-youngest player at the tournament, behind Finland forward Konsta Helenius and Norway teammate defenseman Stian Solberg, each also 18.

Brandsegg-Nygard captured the attention of scouts along the way, and teammates.

"I have just good things to say about Michael," said Solberg, No. 20 on Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters. "He has a great shot. He never backs down. He doesn't let anyone touch him. He stands up for himself. He's a tough guy and he's physical. He can play-make, put up some great passes.

"But his shot ... he has a great shot."

Brandsegg-Nygard will get his shot at the draft in Las Vegas.

He's positioned to become the first player from Norway to be selected in the first round of the NHL draft. The earliest a player from the country has been selected is Marius Holtet, who was chosen by the Dallas Stars in the second round (No. 42) of the 2002 NHL Draft.

Whichever team selects him, it will mark the culmination of a journey he started in Norway and continued away from home.

And validation he made the correct call.

"I really believe that was the right choice for me," Brandsegg-Nygard.

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