In the 4th of 7 articles, we get to know Swedish winger Daniel Torgersson.....
2021-22 Stats: 30 GP | 5 G | 3 A | 8 Pts | 8 PIM
In many ways, Swedish forward Daniel Torgersson has everything that the NHL is looking for in a prospect. At 18 years old, he already had an NHL-caliber frame, clocking in at 6-foot-3, 205 lbs. Not only that, but he skated well, had a decent shot and often made the right decisions on the ice.
The big-bodied Swedish winger was selected 40th overall (2nd round) in the 2020 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets and has since been honing his skills in the Swedish hockey system. Torgersson has also been a mainstay on the Swedish U20 National Team this season, as well as playing for AIK and Frolunda HC.
Torgersson’s play got him noticed not only for his NHL size, but also for his explosive skating that catches defenders off guard due to the sheer amount of acceleration those long legs can get him, and a powerful snapshot that tends to catch goaltenders looking more often than not. Combine that with a high-hockey IQ and a willingness and skill to get back and protect the puck and fish it out from the dirty areas, he can be a real problem to play against simply for being so strong on the puck; especially on the power play, where he truly excelled at being the guy who puts a puck on net or gets a player to move then make an easy pass.
As for downsides, one thing that Torgersson has struggled with is actually using his gigantic frame for defending and knocking players off the puck. He's gotten more used to the idea in the SHL, but if he wants to ply his trade in North American then he’s going to have to make it part of his repertoire. Even though he scored 26 goals in 39 games the 2019-20, Torgersson is not a particularly impressive shooter. His mechanics are cumbersome and and he has a slow release. With that being said, once he gets some time alone with the puck, he knows how to beat a goalie. The high goal scoring numbers over his career can largely be attributed to terrific accuracy. If you look at his goal-scoring statistics, especially from younger days, they were nothing short of extraordinary.
The 2020 second-rounder is expected to play a power forward game for Sweden at the World Junior's in Alberta. He will provide the Swedes with depth down the wing and will likely be a go-to penalty-killer. This will not be his first international experience either, in 2018-19 he represented Sweden at the under-17 World Hockey Championships where he played a very limited role but had one assist in six games.
Big, NHL caliber frame
Smart and quick on his feet
Great scoring touch
Not utilizing his size to its full advantage
Hands are questionable
Lacking offensive creativity
Daniel is a big and powerful player with good speed on the skates. He is incredibly good at creating space for his teammates with his size and difficult to take the puck away from. - Sports Director Christoffer Malm.
Torgersson is a very dangerous net-front player because of his smarts, big body, and good balance. He may not be the most creative offensive player, but he brings a lot of qualities that every team wishes they had. - Jokke Nevalainen – DobberProspects
Highly mobile, he skates much better than you would expect for someone with his size…. Has some explosion to his stride and can blow past defenders with the puck on his stick. - T McGee – SB Nation: Die By The Blade
Torgersson is a big goal-scoring winger. His usage in the SHL is very limited but it’s impressive to get games on that stacked Frölunda team. - Jokke Nevalainen – DobberProspects
He's a good skater for his size, with a powerful push to his stride. He's so well-balanced on his skates, and just incredibly hard to knock off of the puck. Torgersson has great timing in his movements as he adjusts to the defenders and the puck-carrier to open passing lanes. He's excellent at finding open space in or around the slot to give himself enough time to shoot. - Elite Prospects
"His combination of size, length, and speed give him a unique ability to generate constant pressure." said hockeyprospect.com "It’s very rare to find a player who can play with the type of energy and pace he brings to the table."
Daniel Torgersson was only 13 years old when he started playing in the Swedish Under 16 and Junior Under 18 leagues. He joined Skargardens SK and scored 5 goals (8 pts) in 14 games in the U-16, while having no points in 2 games with the U-18 squad.
The 2016-17 season saw the winger explode onto the Swedish hockey scene, as he netted 78 goals in 46 games over 3 different leagues. With the U-16 team, Torgersson scored 74 pts (52 goals) in just 25 games, while chipping in 37 pts (24 goals) in 17 games in the U-18 league. He also pocketed 2 more goals in 4 games in Division 3.
The following year continued to see Torgersson bounce between multiple leagues as he joined the Frolunda HC organization. He ended up played 54 games over 5 different leagues and amassed 36 goals, 27 assists, and 63 points.
2018-19 saw the big forward starting in the U-18 league with Frolunda HC, where he scored 17 goals (35 pts) in 29 games. Torgersson then moved up to the J20 SuperElit division and dressed for 18 games (4pts). He added 10 more points in 18 international games while playing for Sweden in U-17 competitions.
Torgersson continued to display his ongoing development the next year when he showed that he could produce offensively in the J20 SuperElit division. The winger netted 26 goals (44 pts) in 39 games at that level, totalled 10 pts in 13 international game (he competed in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he was named assistant captain and would register 3 points in 5 games), and made his debut in the SHL with Frolunda (0 pts in 6 games).
Last year was tough for Jets 2020 2nd rounder who suffered a knee injury which cost him most of the season (he played 10 games (9 pts) for Vastra Frolunda Jr. in the Swedish junior league and then two games (0 pts) for Frolunda HC) before he had surgery in October of 2020. However the injury didn’t stop Frölunda from signing the prospect to a two-year contract which will extend him to the summer of 2023.
I'm going to try something a bit different in this section this time. Instead of outlining the comparable players statistical history, I will instead provide a link to their career stats in the comment section below and provide a brief write up.
A few of the articles I read about Torgersson offered Artturi Lehkonen as a comparable player, so I decided to look at him as well as two Winnipeg Jets....David Gustafsson and Kristian Vesalainen.
While Artturi Lehkonen is Finnish and started his development in their system, he did move to the SHL (Frolunda) for his final 2 seasons across the pond. Throughout his career, Artturi hasn't show the knack for scoring goals like Torgersson has, but he did produce similar point totals at the U-20 level. The much smaller Lehkonen has shown the ability to score in both the Finish (Liiga) & Swedish (SHL) men's leagues, netting 30 pts in 45 games with KalPa (Liiga) and 33 pts in 49 games with Frolunda (SHL). Since coming to the NHL, Artturi has shown that he can put up around 30 pts per year, while being counted on to be defensively responsible.
David Gustafsson definitely has some similarities to Torgersson, as both developed their games in the Swedish system, were drafted in the 2nd round, have good size, and have shown that they can be counted on to be strong on defense. However, Gus has never been able to light the lamp as often as Torgersson has. Gustafsson has developed into almost a point per game player at the AHL level and is ready to become a bottom 6 center in the NHL.
Kristian Vesalainen is another Finnish forward that shares some similarities to Torgersson, but they have big differences in their games as well. Vesalainen started his career in the Finnish system, though like Lehkonen eventually moved over to the SHL (Frolunda). Kristian (6'4") is slightly larger than Torgersson (6'3"), though both players aren't know for for their physical play. While Vesalainen has shown that he can score in Liiga (HPK - 39 pts in 44 games) and the J20 SuperElit (Frolunda - 34 pts in 37 games), he hasn't been able to consistently put up points at the AHL/NHL level so far.
After looking at the stats for all 4 players, it would seem to me that Gustafsson and Lehkonen could turn out to be similar players - responsible bottom 6 options, able to kill penalties, and chip in modestly offensively. While Torgersson has a lot left to prove at the higher levels, if he can turn out like those two, his higher offensive skills could help him to become a quality top 6 option in the NHL.
How Torgersson does in his remaining time in the SHL and how he handles the transition to North American hockey will determine if he can exceed what Vesalainen has been able to do so far with the Jets. Although Torgersson is described as being better defensively than the Finnish winger, as well as playing with more intensity, so that bodes well for him.
As with most prospects raised in the Frölunda system, Torgersson is an intelligent player who works well in both directions. Similarly to Artturi Lehkonen, you can bet on the offensive upside, but if that doesn’t work out you at least know that you’ll have a bottom-six winger who can be relied upon in all areas of the ice.
In the right system, Torgersson has all of the intangibles necessary to develop into a starting NHL forward. His shot, skating, and smarts are all on track to becoming NHL caliber, and he already has the needed size to make the jump in the future. Where things could go wrong is if he is rushed into the league. He still needs time to fully develop his game, so a few seasons in the AHL may be necessary before he learns how to use his body properly.
If he adds more of a physical element to his game, I can definitely see him eventually turning into a solid NHL scorer with added utility as a special-teams contributor. Expect him to be a reliable coach’s favorite type of guy with the ability to use him as a complementary piece on offence.
Overall, I think it will be quite a while before we see Torgersson in a Winnipeg Jets jersey. He will continue to develop in the SHL and hopefully can display the ability to score at that level. He'll get at least a year & a half to do so, since he won't be able to make the move to North American before the 2023-24 campaign. After that, expect at least a year in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose before he gets a real look at cracking the NHL line-up.
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