Highly touted Boston Bruins Prospect Axel Andersson has been outstanding in his short time with the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The highly skilled smooth skating defencemen from Jarna, Sweden has thoroughly enjoyed his time on and off the ice with the Cats.
“I really like it here,” Andersson said proudly.
“The City is good, the people here are so nice.”
“Its very similar to where I come from,” he added.
Axel Andersson is a man of few words, but he certainly lets his game do all the talking when he steps on the ice.
The 19-year-old import star continues to be a difference maker for a Wildcats team with championship aspirations.
Andersson’s powerless with the puck, vision, first pass, mobility and accountability in all three zones is truly remarkable.
In 24 games with the Cats Andersson has yet to light the lamp, but has 11 assists and is a plus 8.
What are the young quiet soft spoken defencemen’s thoughts on the league and his place within?
“I didn’t know much about the Q, but what I did know was it’s a good league for young promising players,” admitted Andersson.
Axel Andersson is certainly that.
The young Swed isn’t content with his solid two-way presence and is driven to continue his progression and reach his ultimate dream of playing in the NHL.
“I want to be better in all three zones and be more effective.”
“Obviously, I’m a two-way defencemen, but I want to develop my offensive game as well.”
Andersson’s first five to ten games in the QMJHL were all about acclimatization.
Working on the offensive aspect of the game and finding balance isn’t always easy. How is Andersson going to address that aspect of his game?
Is he going to rely on his instincts to jump into the play more or is it all about settling in or taking more risks?
“Not more risks,” Andersson said without hesitation.
“That’s not what I want to do.”
“I want to be more effective and productive and really settle in,” explained Andersson.
“I’m working on that now, I want to be more active on the blue line.”
It’s clear that if Andersson was with any other organization other than the B’s, the young transitional defencemen would probably be playing in the American Hockey League.
The highly intelligent and multifaceted puck mover has found great chemistry so far with steady stay at home defender Sean Stewart.
Andersson and Stewart have suddenly turned into the Cats top defensive shutdown pairing as well.
Stewart plays a very similar style to that of former Bruin Andrew Ference. Stewart will need to continue to work on his mobility and stride to get to the next level, but I could definitely see him get drafted this season.
Andersson and Stewart compliment each other very well. There’s no question Stewart’s subsequent pairing with Andersson has helped his game but his play alone has caught the attention of countless NHL Scouts.
How does Andersson feel about the decision to play in the QMJHL and have a chance to play for a President Cup and Memorial Cup with the Cats?
“Yeah absolutely, it’s a good opportunity for me to play against people my own age and develop things that often don’t have time to develop playing in the American Hockey League,” Andersson said.
“It’s a good opportunity for me and I’m glad I came here.”
Andersson had to be considered with regards to Sweden’s World Junior Team, but unfortunately didn’t get the call to represent his country.
The Sweds boast potentially seven 1st round NHL Draft Picks on their backend alone.
“Team Sweden always have a good d-mans line up,” confessed Andersson.
“I was disappointed for sure, but I’m just going to keep playing my game the longer the season goes.”
“I’m disappointed, but it is what it is,” Andersson said.
Character, maturity and resiliency that perfectly describes Axel Andersson the player and person.
In my opinion the Boston Bruins have a future star defencemen on their hands.
Speaking of the Bruins what has Andersson’s brief NHL experience been like and which Bruin has taken him under their wing and what’s the core leadership group really like in Boston?
“In Boston everyone takes you under their wing.”
“It’s so good to go there,” Andersson said.
“Everybody takes care you especially the caps like Chara and Bergeron.”
“The Bruins organization is happy to have them there because they are so good to us youngsters. Everyone is taken care of there.”
Axel Andersson remains fixated on the present and helping the Wildcats win, but whenever talk of the black and gold comes up you can’t keep the smile off his face.
The adjustment to the North American game has been almost seamless for talented rear guard.
Andersson has made his presence felt across the league and is arguably one of the best defenders in the circuit.
One has to look beyond the offensive numbers and look at the entire body of work.
Sure there has been an adjustment period, and a settling in aspect to his arrival in the Q.
As of late Andersson has been pressing to get his first tally in the league, but that’s only natural for a team first oriented player like Andersson.
You can tell how much Axel Andersson cares and how much he wants to help the Cats win every night.
There’s no doubt the silky smooth skater from Sweden is a gamer.
He brings it every night!
Andersson has showcased his feistiness and grit on several occasions this season.
Andersson’s ability to skate out of trouble provides him with the luxury of taking some chances offensively from time to time. 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
Has he been trying to do a little too much on occasion?
Yes, but that’s only natural for someone with Andersson’s compete , pride and character.
Axel Andersson is a winner.
Axel Andersson is a fierce competitor and is willing to do whatever it takes to win.
Axel Andersson is a prototypical Bruin through and through.
The B’s 2nd rounder doesn’t hold back his intentions when asked about where he wants to play next season.
“Of course I want to play in the show next year,” Andersson said with a big smile.
“I’m going to take it step by step and hope I have a good development camp and training camp and just go from there.”
It’s been an amazing journey for the kid from Jarna, Sweden.
A journey of full of sacrifice, hard work and unwavering determination.
Andersson is quick to credit one of his mentors and coaches for helping him get to this point in his career.
“Jorgen Bemstrom has had huge influence on me as a player,” confessed Andersson.
“Jorgen has been with me since I was twelve and coached me until I was eighteen. I want to thank him for that and I’m glad I had him as a coach.”
Bemstrom is currently an Assistant Coach with Djurgården of the SHL.
It’s hard sometimes to realize how young these players actually are given the professional manner in which they conduct themselves.
That’s clear for so many when the talk family arises.
Andersson’s face lite up when asked if he was going back home for Christmas.
“Yes, I am going to be able to go home.”
Often overlooked with all the numbers, projections, pro aspirations, and pressure to perform, import players across the CHL in many cases haven’t seen their families for years. That has to be gut wrenching so close to the holiday season.
Sure it’s part of playing the game and everyone has to go through it to accomplish their dreams, but the look on Andersson’s face said it all when talking about family.
The future Bruin is expecting his parents to make the trip to Moncton to watch him play in person sometime in January.
For now Andersson and Cats focus is on the final game before the Christmas break vs the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
1. I would expect the team to release a statement regarding Head Coach John Torchetti’s leave of absence at some point tonight.
2. Torchetti has been away from the team for personal reasons for the better part of two weeks
3. The Wildcats are 2-4 without Torchetti behind the bench.
4. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Detroit Red Wings Prospect Jared McIsaac paired with Andersson when the Mooseheads defencemen arrives in Moncton after the World Juniors. Nonetheless, it’s going to be very difficult to for the Cats brain trust to break up the Stewart Andersson combination.