Highly touted Boston Bruins Prospect Axel Andersson has a new role. The highly skilled smooth skating defencemen from Jarna, Sweden is now on the Moncton Wildcats first power play unit.
The 19 year old import star continues to be a difference maker for the streaking Wildcats who are winners of the last 8 games.
Andersson’s powerless with the puck, vision, first pass and accountability in all three zones is truly remarkable which has to be one of the deciding factors for John Torchetti to move L.A. Kings draft selection Jordan Spence off of that unit.
The highly intelligent and multifaceted puck mover has also found chemistry with steady stay at home defender from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Sean Stewart.
Andersson may have found his way on the Cats top PP unit, but he and Stewart have suddenly turned into the Cats top defensive shutdown pairing as well.
Looking at the stats alone one would see the transitional defencemen was a minus one in a 10-4 win vs the Cape Breton Eagles earlier this week.
That stat alone would have you shaking your head.
Nonetheless, there’s no doubt the learning curve hasn’t been a substantial one for the B’s Prospect, but there are certainly some areas where Andersson needs work.
Last night Andersson played arguably his most complete game as a Wildcat shutting down Cape Breton’s top trio while providing sound puck movement and quality speed.
Andersson sent the message right away last night by taking Eagles offensive star Ryan Francis into the end boards very heavily in the first or second shift of the game.
Recently one QMJHL Assistant Coach told me that he believes Andersson to be the best defender in the league.
That’s high praise for a kid that has only played nine games on the season.
Nevertheless, word is travelling fast around the circuit just how good this kid really is and how his addition to the Cats have made them a true contender.
Shift in shift out last night Axel Andersson played a simplistic hard nosed defensive game. There was nothing flashy about last nights performance other than his skating, tremendous hockey sense and passing ability, but honestly we have come to expect that from the 19 year old.
Two games ago on home ice versus the league’s top team the Sherbrooke Phoenix Andersson played his worst game by far as a Cat.
The young Swed was struggling to gain body position, and misreading certain opportunities to join the rush, while also losing his fair share of puck battles below the dots in his own zone.
With that recent set back behind him Axel Andersson continues to adjust league, smaller ice surface and the North American style of game very well and is getting to know the competition.
There’s no question Andersson will soon be very familiar with other top lines as the season progresses.
Don’t look for Andersson’s point totals to sky rocket, but they should spike in the very near future with his new role on the power play.
Andersson is currently the set up man or the quarterback at the top of the umbrella formation on the power play that overall moves the puck very efficiently and effectively.
I would like to see the Cats include Andersson as a threat to shoot on the PP rather than only distribute.
The quiet shy soft spoken defender seems to be settling into his new surroundings very comfortably.
From a far one aspect that I’ve noticed with regards to Andersson is his love for the game and how much fun he’s having on the ice sharing laughs and communicating effectively with his coaches and teammates alike.
Andersson’s ability to skate out of trouble provides him with the luxury of taking chances and risks offensively. There’s no question the young skilled rearguard has what it takes to play at the next level, but there are certain areas of his game that need work.
Andersson needs to get stronger to play the pro game, but he definitely has all the tools to be an exceptional two-way defencemen at the next level.
Any other 19 year old with Andersson’s skill and smarts would be already in the America Hockey League. With the Bruins depth at an all time high on the backend the organization had the luxury to send their next high profile right shooting defence to the Junior ranks to play close to 35 minutes a game.