The term ‘effortless’ comes to mind when evaluating the game of Modo defenceman Robert Hagg.
At 6-foot-2, 204 pounds, Hagg has a good frame to work with and brings a little bit of everything to the table from the blueline. In his time with the Modo junior squad he brought a strong offensive presence, recording 24 points in 28 games, and was named the league’s best defenceman. He saw that production tail off quite a bit when he joined the big club, however, as he recorded a single assist in 27 games in the SEL. He also captured a silver medal with Team Sweden at the World Juniors where he earned a key shutdown role after being a late addition to the squad.
There is plenty of debate as to what Hagg’s best asset is in his game. He is a fluid, strong skater who can move the puck with ease. He passes the puck well from any situation. He has a big shot from the point -- as evidenced by his 11 goals with Modo’s junior squad this season -- and has no qualms about using it. He has also been a leader at every level he has played at, wearing a ‘C’ for Modo’s U20 squad and an ‘A’ for Sweden at the U18 level.
The primary knock on Hagg’s game is his consistency. While he does everything well, he can lapse into stretches where he gets careless on the ice and makes corresponding mistakes. Much of this ties into his maturity level, which has been called into question before. The hope is that he’ll become more focused as he gets older and plays with players more advanced and experienced than he is.
Hagg’s game has something to offer every team looking for a defenceman in this draft. His skillset is very versatile and translates to every facet of the game. He is a very capable player -- it’s simply a matter of getting it out of him on a nightly basis. He should blossom into a strong two-way defenceman as he develops.
Expect Hagg to be selected in the middle of round one.