When we last looked at Viktor Lööv, the 7th round pick from 2012 was attempting to justify his movement into the Top 25 by proving his worth with MODO of the SHL, after two years playing for his hometown club in the Allsvenskan (Sweden's second tier professional league).
Now, after a fairly successful season at the highest level in his home country, Lööv will make another move up our countdown, and another move up the professional hockey ladder as he tries to establish himself in the AHL.
Lööv climbs nine spots from last year's countdown to finish in 15th on our list of the Top 25 Under 25.
|Height:||190 cm / 6'3"||Weight:||86 kg / 190 lbs|
|Youth Team:||Södertälje SK||Contract:||16/17|
|Drafted:||2012 round 7 #209 overall by Toronto Maple Leafs|
The Maple Leafs have had a pretty succesful pipeline of young Swedish defenceman in recent years. The recently traded Carl Gunnarsson had developed into a reliable defensive stalwart, Anton Stralman developed into a talented puck-mover (albeit after being traded away), and the Leafs have a few more on the way thanks to late round picks in recent years (Petter Granberg, Tom Nilsson and Lööv).
With the exception of Stralman, it's worth noting that these players have been more well known for their defence than their offence. As we talked about Nilsson last week, he's much more of a defence-first player, who uses good mobility to break up offensive attacks and punish opposing forwards.
Lööv's game doesn't exactly replicate that of Nilsson's. He too is regarded as a good skater (a requisite in today's game, and something the Maple Leafs have been searching for from all their defensive selections), and while Lööv is fond of throwing hits, it doesn't define his game the same way it does Nilsson's. Lööv is more of a two-way threat that can help produce offence, and that was proven a bit this year where he contributed 12 points in 42 games for MODO, which isn't a lot, but is still considerably more than the contributions from Granberg or Nilsson before their trips to North America.
Corey Pronman looks at Lööv as a more "jack-of-all-trades, master of none" type player, someone who gets good marks across the board, but without a standout quality that defines his game.
Loov kind of does a little of everything well but isn't great at any one thing. He's a big man who can skate and handle the puck well for his size, and chip in on both special teams. Is he an NHLer? I lean to no as of now, I'm not a fan, but I know a scout or two who think he can get there.
A defenceman who plays a game like that is easy to get lost in the shuffle, because it's a lot easier to remember a mistake than the little unnoticed plays they make that keep the game moving in the right direction. I agree with Pronman that we're still a ways away from knowing whether Lööv is good enough to succeed at the NHL level, but to date he's done what is asked of him at the professional level, and I think he should acquit himself well in the AHL.
|Name||birky||BowerPower||Burtch||Chemmy||clrkaitken||Nikota||PPP||SkinnyFish||67 Sound||FINAL RANK|
Impressed a lot of people with his play in the SHL this past season. I might be too high on him, but sue me. - JP Nikota
I put him just behind his fellow Swede (Tom Nilsson) based on the confidence the SHL and the Maple Leafs have put in Nilsson at a younger age. - 67 Sound
Lööv, as far as our panel was concerned, received more confidence than Nilsson, comfortably finishing ahead of him, and two points ahead of Frederik Gauthier, who was sandwiched between the two. Lööv was also a ways behing the next member of our countdown.