When looking at a draft class, it’s hard to not get fixated on a certain player and develop a biased opinion on them. Sometimes you just like a player from the moment you see them and that admiration for a player compounds with each passing view.
For this year, that player for me is Albin Grewe.
Splitting his season between SuperElit and the SHL paints two different pictures of this Swedish prospect, but there is lots to like about the left-handed forward. We’ll dive in and take a look at the season that was for Albin Grewe.
- Age/Birthdate: Mar 22, 2001
- Birthplace: Marsta, Sweden
- Frame: 6-foot-0 / 176 lbs
- Position: C/RW
- Handedness: L
- Draft Year Team: Djurgardens IF (SHL) / Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)
- J18 Elit (Overall) Most Points by U16 Player (28)
- TV-Pucken Best Forward (Sven Tumbas Stipendium)
- TV-Pucken Gold Medal
- TV-Pucken Playoffs Most Points (13)
- U16 SM Best Forward
- J18 SM Gold Medal
- U18 WJC Bronze Medal
- Hlinka Memorial Silver Medal
- J20 SM Bronze Medal
- SHL SM-silver Medal
- U18 WJC Gold Medal
2018-19 Stat Rundown
|LEAGUE||GP||G||A||P||INV%||5v5 Pr INV%||5v5 ePr60||SEAL||Sh/GP||Sh%||5v5 eTOI||GF%||GF%rel||GD60 rel||XLS%||Top XLS%||XPR|
I like to refer to Albin Grewe as ‘organized chaos.’ He seems to constantly be on the puck or engaged in the play but, in a way, that doesn’t seem like he isn’t thinking about what he is doing. He displays patience and poise with the puck and combines that with some great puck skills.
He is at the top of the food chain, a t-rex, eats everything and thinks everything is under him.
He is willing to be a physical player along the boards, grinding it out to come out of the corner with the puck. Once he has that biscuit, he will drop his shoulder and drive the net. He can do that from the puck retrieval along the boards or using his skating abilities to drive wide and pick a line.
The Mastra-born winger does all of those grinding parts of the game without sacrificing his defensive responsibilities. He engages and hits in an intelligent way that doesn’t put himself out of position, allowing him to stay on the right side of the puck. That doesn’t mean that he will pass up a chance to hit someone, but is merely evidence of his hockey IQ.
Grewe seems to have an endless amount of energy that allows him to constantly display quick and active feet. This gives him above-average two-step quickness and decent top speed. He isn’t a burner, but is a player that constantly has his feet moving; if an opponent lets up for a moment, Grewe seizes the opportunity to get past them.
In the offensive zone, Grewe doesn’t have a standout skill that really sets him apart but is well above average at everything. It’s this combination of strong attributes that he uses to make things happen.
He has a deceptive and quick release on his snap shot that allows him to beat goalies clean. That is complemented by good puck skills and playmaking abilities. He isn’t a selfish player looking to shoot at every chance and he isn’t a player that passes up a prime shooting chance to make a pass. Grewe is clever and quickly reacts to whatever is happening around him to effectively use either of his offensive weapons to create the best chance overall.
Another trait that stands out is that when Grewe doesn’t have the puck, his stick is on the ice, displaying to his teammate that he is ready to receive a pass (this is less common than you’d expect).
All of the above are why I make the point about “organized chaos;” he looks like he is doing so many things but it’s clear that he isn’t just running around. There is a method to the plays he makes and they are usually created by how smart and skilled he is.
He was limited to two goals at the U18 World Juniors but, in my opinion, that had more to do with the role that was asked of him. Playing mostly in a third-line role, he wasn’t expected to contribute; but if he gets placed in a top-six role, he is able to seamlessly adapt to that role.
That is what makes him such an attractive player. He can slide anywhere in the lineup, take on any role, and generally excel at it, all while being a physical presence and reliable in his own zone.
As mentioned off the top, there can be bias placed on a player that can sometimes influence your perception of them. You may overlook what they are actually doing in favour of what you expect them to be doing, just because you are drawn to them. That, in addition to the acknowledgement of potential for bias, is why the addition of data to the analysis process is imperative.
Many European players, such as Grewe, split their seasons between the professional and junior leagues, which can at times feel like a tale of two seasons. Luckily, we can dive into both and provide context on both.
Starting off with his time the J20 SuperElit, Grewe was an elite producer whenever he was on the ice:
Djurgarden were one of the top teams this season, finishing tied for the most wins in the league and winning the ‘bronze medal’. They were also tied for the second-fewest goals allowed and tied for third-most goals scored.
When with his junior club, Grewe produced the most estimated points per hour and made many of his most common line mates better in terms of five-on-five goal differential.
Despite only playing 25 regular season games with the J20 team, he finished fourth in points and led the team in points per game.
Compared to the rest of the league, Grewe’s 1.36 points-per-game were second in the SuperElit (among players with at least 10 games played), trailing only 2020 draft-eligible Noel Gunler.
That production produced the following results from pGPS:
There are only 24 matches with Grewe; his high-end production in this still developing feeder league put him at the extreme end of the standard distribution of players, reducing potential matches. The likelihood of becoming an NHL regular is assessed at 46%, which is among the leaders in this draft class.
Looking at his year-over-year growth, there was a tangible step forward in his likelihood of success over last year, when he had 27 points in 36 games.
His SuperElit team took a step forward, he was afforded a big role, and he took advantage of that earning himself a promotion to the SHL for 15 games this season.
That brings us to his SHL games and how they paint a slightly different picture.
Grewe played 15 games with Djurgarden in the SHL, failing to register a point but putting up 16 PIM and plus-2. He averaged 5:45 of ice time in those 15 games and played one playoff game at that level that saw him play 6:16.
Obviously, since he failed to get a single point, he is firmly on the left side of the P60 axis, but he had success in terms of five-on-five goals-for percentage. He may not have produced the offence himself, but his team came out well ahead in goal share with he was on the ice. His ice time was limited but that is an encouraging sign.
Even though Grewe failed to get a single point in his SHL action, he still has a 21% likelihood of becoming an NHL regular, per pGPS. This is largely because just playing in the SHL at his age is a highly positive sign. Had a bounce gone his way at some point and picked up an assist along the way, he would have fallen into the 51% rule of SHL players: Of players 18 and younger who post a 0.09 points-per-game or higher rate, about 51% will go on to becoming NHL regulars. It’s a bit outdated at this point, but it’s an eye-opening statistic for the uninitiated.
This situation has become more common over the last few years. The top players within a development season see some time with their parent club in the SHL but are limited in their role. This creates a picture that isn’t accurate of what the player fully represents.
Grewe showed that he can be an elite producer when afforded the opportunity in the SuperElit. When he was in the SHL, he was limited to a fourth-line role but displayed his defensive prowess and physical play. He did a similar thing at the U18’s.
Grewe has such a well-rounded game that he could be a complimentary top-six player that helps the skilled players create offence or could slide into a third-line role as a gritty checking forward that doesn’t stop making things happen.
At this point, we could see Grewe go as early as 25th overall or fall into the early second round. If he is sitting there on day two of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, we won’t be waiting long to hear his name called.
Additional Charts and Data
Rolling Season Data
Raw data for the charts used in this article came from eliteprospects.com, SHL.se and swe.hockey.se.
Check out Albin Grewe’s Prospect Shifts page here (paywall).
Founder and analyst for NextGenHockey.ca — Contributor to The Athletic Vancouver, EliteProspects, CanucksArmy, and Canucks.com.
Father of two and decent husband.
I watch the game.