The San Jose Sharks could target Emil Andrae in the early rounds of the 2020 NHL Draft.
Emil Andrae is an 18-year-old Swedish defenseman who played for HV71’s J18 team of the J18 Elit, J20 team of the SuperElit, and their parent club in the SHL — and he could be on the San Jose Sharks‘ list for the 2020 NHL Draft.
While playing for the J18 squad, Andrae put up four points (one goal, three assists) in just two games. For the J20 team, he racked up 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) in 40 games.
Andrae’s 38 points led all defensemen in the SuperElit.
While playing amongst men in the SHL, Andrae didn’t get much playing time and had a difficult time putting up points — in 10 games he tallied no points.
In addition to regular season play, Andrae also participated in the International Juniors tournament. In 13 games for Team Sweden, the young defenseman recorded 12 points (one goal, 11 assists).
Andrae is an elite skater. He’s very fast and explosive with a great first step and acceleration. The young Swede also comes with amazing edge work and agility with the ability to weave through traffic — with or without the puck — and turn on a dime.
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With the addition of very good stick-handling, passing, and creativity, Andrae can see and make plays that others can’t. With all these skills, Andrae has the ability to lead the rush, join as a late addition, and quarterback the powerplay.
Andrae’s impressive lateral movement allows him to walk the blue line with ease and create new passing and shooting lanes. His great vision and play-reading ability allow him to thread the needle with accurate passes.
With a deceptively quick release, Andrae likes to sneak in from the point to unload a wrist or snap shot. However, if needed, the blue-liner has a decent slapper that he knows to keep low and on net for his teammates to redirect or to knock home a juicy rebound.
Despite only being 5-foot-9 and 183 pounds, Andrae isn’t afraid to throw body checks and go to the dirty areas — like the boards and in front of the net.
Being extremely quick and agile, Andrae has the ability to quickly transition the puck from the defense to offense — minimizing time in his own zone for himself and his teammates.
Andrae also comes with a quick, active stick that he often uses to cause turnovers by intercepting passes and even blocking shots.
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The thing that sticks out like a sore thumb about Andrae is his size, or lack thereof. At just 5-foot-9 and 183 pounds, he’s undersized — especially for a defenseman. Needing to add muscle and
strength to his lower body, he’s pretty easy to knock off the puck.
Andrae also has a tendency to force plays and be too aggressive offensively. This causes him to be out of position, leading to odd-man rushes against him and his team.
San Jose Sharks Prediction
Andrae is mostly ranked no earlier than the late 40s, with the exception of NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters) who rank him No. 15. So, I can’t see him going any earlier than the late first round.
This gives the Sharks several opportunities to draft him, whether it be with their first-round pick or one of their two second-round picks. However, I don’t think it would be the greatest pick — there are much better options that San Jose could take, especially on defense.
With the Sharks’ defense aging, they need to draft defensemen that can actually play defense — they already have Erik Karlsson and possibly his clone in Ryan Merkley in their farm system.
Andrae has the potential to be a solid second-pairing defenseman and to quarterback a first-unit powerplay, but I think he’s too much of a project to draft so high, especially with him most likely remaining in Sweden for another season.