Passed over in the draft last season, Swedish-born winger Samuel Fagemo did everything in his power this season to avoid that happening a second time.
Fagemo was given a full-time role with Frolunda in the SHL after starting the year with their junior club. He ran with the opportunity and then even took a big step forward in the post-season, helping them secure the SHL championship.
He’s not a perfect player, but there is little doubt that a team is going to reap the rewards by grabbing him at some point in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
- Age/Birthdate: 19 / Match 14, 2000
- Birthplace: Goteberg, Sweden
- Frame: 5-foot-11 / 194 lbs
- Position: Left Wing/Right Wing
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Frolunda (SHL) / Frolunda HC J20 (SuperElit)
2018-19 Stat Rundown
|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|
The main reason why Fagemo was passed over last season was because of his issues with skating. He lacked explosiveness, top speed, and wasn’t exactly the most agile skater either. Fagemo was able to succeed at the SuperElit level in 2017-18 simply because he was more skilled than his opponents, but skating was still a glaring issue.
This season has seen his skating improve in each of those areas. It’s no longer an issue that will hold him back, but nor is it a strength of his. Ideally, he will continue his upward trajectory in this facet, which is possible if he continues to improve his strength and technical parts of his stride.
Fagemo is very strong at protecting the puck by widening his stride to force the opponents to really reach from the puck. He is also good at slipping through coverage to find the gap and wait for the puck to come to him.
The overriding attribute to his game is his shot. It’s fantastic.
He is able to rip it with a slapshot or a wrist shot and can do so with supreme accuracy. If he is afforded any time or space to wind up, he has his head up and can easily place the puck where he wants. As you would expect, he can be dynamite on the powerplay by using his shot to pick apart netminders.
Fagemo is a decent passer but isn’t the most creative playmaker, as it’s clear that he just sees the net and would rather take a shot then set someone up. This isn’t to say that he can’t make a pass or will hold onto the puck too much; he has displayed good awareness and deft hands when making certain plays.
His defensive game could still use some work as he can appear to be late to react to his opponent and can give them too much time. But on the flip side, Fagemo is very good at getting the puck out of the zone with control. It’s just a matter of him getting it.
Overall, his improvement from year to year is extremely noticeable. It’s easy to suggest that he was just seizing his chance in the top-six on one of the best SHL teams, but he really was a play driver for them in the SHL playoffs and had a particularly strong showing in the Champions Hockey League for Frolunda.
Where do you even begin with Fagemo and the draft analysis tools that are available to us?
Well, first off, his projected likelihood of becoming an NHL player is rather high.
With 12 matches, Fagemo has a 91% likelihood of becoming an NHL regular, with a very high chance of becoming a top-six forward and producing an average of 48.6 points per 82 games played.
His success rate is eating the failures in the above graph.
Fagemo leads all the forwards in estimated 5-on-5 points per hour (eP60) and only slightly trails Ponthus Westerholm in terms of goals-for percentage. He only averaged 13:56 of ice-time during the regular season but did produce well with that time.
Another encouraging sign from an underlying numbers perspective is that all of his frequent linemates performed better (in term of goals-for percentage) with Fagemo compared to without him.
Given that he was only 19 years old and Frolunda was a fairly deep team, these are very positive signs. Generally, we see these draft-plus-one year players see limited roles or be a drag on their teammates; instead, Fagemo thrived in both aspects.
In hindsight, Fagemo shouldn’t have slipped through last year’s draft. He produced well in his SuperElit play but wasn’t afforded a huge opportunity with Frolunda in the SHL last season and thus slipped through. He didn’t dominate play in international tournaments and thus his flaws overrode his positives. But now he has taken a huge step forward, clearly demonstrated by his this chart tracking pGPS year over year:
If someone had selected Fagemo last season and he did what he did, we’d be praising the team for getting a late round steal. Now teams are looking to get a player that looks all but certain to have a professional career in North America.
Personally, I view Fagemo as being the best draft-plus-one player available and in the conversation as being the best overage player in this draft class. He has a fantastic shot and has improved his skating to a level where it is no longer a liability.
Anywhere from the mid-point of the second round onwards, I wouldn’t hesitate to select Fagemo. It’s understandable why some might have concerns about Fagemo but his goal-scoring abilities outweigh those. Furthermore, you aren’t leaving high upside on the board, as Fagemo is only one year removed from his first year of eligibility and has legitimate top-six skill.
Rolling Season Data
Raw data for the charts used in this article came from eliteprospects.com and SHL.se.
Some clips were pulled from videos from prospectshifts.com. Check out Samuel Fagemo’s page here (paywall). Other clips were pulled from original broadcasts, with all rights reserved for the original broadcast companies.
Founder and analyst for NextGenHockey.ca — Contributor to The Athletic Vancouver, EliteProspects, CanucksArmy, and Canucks.com.
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