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NHL Draft 2012: Viktor Lööv - 7th Round 209th Overall

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Viktor Lööv of Södertälje SK celebrates a goal. Photo: (c) Bildbyrån
Viktor Lööv of Södertälje SK celebrates a goal. Photo: (c) Bildbyrån

The Toronto Maple Leafs used their last selection - 209th overall - in the 2012 NHL Draft to select the slightly older and slightly more experienced 19 year old Viktor Lööv of Södertälje SK in the Swedish Allsvenskan (2nd division). He's touted as a balanced two-way defender with decent offensive and passing skills. SSK is most recently notable for developing LA Kings scoring star Anze Kopitar prior to his arrival in the NHL.

Lööv's offensive upside is highly touted by Leaf's European Scout Thommie Bergman and Dave Morrison dropped this quote to Michael Traikos of the National Post:

"I put him in a little bit of a Jesse Blacker mold. He’s a real good skater, speed, a lot of energy in his game, gets the puck up quick and a high compete level."

Apparently Lööv was mistakenly listed as being 5'6" by central scouting, so that may have scared off potential suitors. This is particularly amusing since Lööv is actually 6'3" Editor`s Note: This is our positive Kurt Sauer moment! and to be fair though even Lööv's teammates on SSK were suprirsed by his selection. Most of them expected his teammate, right winger Emil Lundberg, to be the first SSK player to be drafted in 2012. Lundberg was ranked 44th amongst European skaters by NHL Central Scouting prior to the 2012 draft but was not picked in the 7 round selection process.

Lööv ranked 8th in D man scoring in the Swedish-J20 Superelit league during 2010-11, his last season prior to his promotion to SSK's men's side, and is considered an excellent passer. While the Leafs rate his skating as a plus, it would best be described as fluid, making him mobile, though his top speed isn't particularly high. His shot also isn't particularly effective at this stage, so don't necessarily expect big numbers out of the Swede.

He is signed with SSK through the 2013-14 season so he is unlikely to cross to North America until 3 years from now and that's assuming he continues to develop in a positive manner. His November 16th, 1992 birthday makes him almost two years older than the majority of his draft class but he's still young enough at 19 that he has lots of room for development before trying to make his way with the Leafs.

I would look at him as a project that is comparable to Carl Gunnarsson and other recent Leafs draft pick Tom Nilsson (who is actually still a year younger despite being drafted in 2011). Hopefully his reliability and consistency serve him well in progressing towards an NHL opportunity - but being selected late in the 7th round makes it unlikely.