Top 25 Under 25 -
#14 - David Gustafsson
6’1” 194 lbs - Centre - Shoots Left
SHL 2017-2018: 45 GP - 6G - 6A - 12PTS - 8PIM
The start of his second year with HV71 has been delayed by an ankle injury, but David Gustafsson’s future remains bright as a Winnipeg Jets prospect.
Picked late in the second round (60th overall) in this year’s draft, Gustafsson did something very few teenagers do, averaging 0.27 points per game in the Swedish Hockey League. This came while playing as a bottom six forward, as his role with the team was primarily defensive, which he excelled at, and to win faceoffs, another strength.
One of the weaknesses that has been noted in his game has been his skating, despite lower-body strength and balance being listed as strengths. General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff compared him to Adam Lowry, in that Lowry also struggled with skating around the time he was drafted, but was able to correct it and emerge as an every day NHLer. Gustafsson is a beast along the boards with the puck, and has a way of pushing his way past and around defenders.
After being drafted, he stated he intended to work on his skating and puck possession in the off-season, and in this season with HV71. Depending on how his return from injury goes, he should slot into the top-6 of the HV71 lineup.
Gustafsson represented his country of Sweden on numerous occasions last year, including a shining performance at the World U18 Championships, where he had two goals and five assists in seven games. He was a late cut from the U20 World Junior team, but that should change this year as his skill continues to grow.