Sunday, February 26, 2017

Liljegren breakdown - part I

So far, it has been a complicated season for 2017 NHL Draft eligible defenseman Timothy Liljegren. He has appeared at three different levels of hockey: mostly in SHL with Rogle BK, but he has also seen time in Allsvenskan on a short loan to Timra and has (at the time of writing) logged 12 games at the J20 level again with Rogle. He has also been a regular for Sweden's U18 team internationally and has dealt with a case of mononucleosis earlier in the season that sidelined him for some time. Safe to say, he has seen a bit of everything in his draft eligible season.

We received some heat for placing Liljegren as the third best 2017 NHL Draft eligible prospect coming out of Europe (behind Nico Hischier and Elias Pettersson respectively) back in September and more recently still receive questions about his "stock" as a draft eligible prospect. That has prompted us to offer an extensive breakdown that should illuminate how we see Timothy Liljegren's game.


We will start this breakdown with what we feel is the biggest question-mark in Liljegren's game and also one of the main reasons for why we dropped him all the way back in September. His biggest flaw this season has been decision-making. With that said, let us continue with visual examples and their analysis.

This sequence starts with Liljegren actually doing a good job evading the forecheck, as he turns and loses the Canadian forward he is left with quite some time to make a decision on how to move the puck forward. In frame III, it becomes fairly obvious that the right option to take is to pass along the green arrow, that said there is still a less than ideal orange path to take which would serve more just as an outlet to get rid of the puck not necessarily move the play forward in a productive way. Seeing as Liljegren isn't under pressure, it's not a particularly good option in this scenario. While Liljegren does not pass immediately, he still has ample amount of time to execute the green option pass in frames IV and V. Yet, Liljegren fails to do so and eventually loses the puck to the forechecker. In this sequence, we see something that has been fairly common in our viewings this season and that is the failure to make decisions that use obvious positive passing lanes (and simple quality options in general).