As one of the draft’s biggest risers, don’t be surprised if Helge Grans goes in the first round. He was ranked in the mid 100s last summer, and he’s climbed up to the 32nd best prospect in this class, per McKenzie. The 18-year-old Swedish defenseman stands at 6-foot-3, 192 pounds; excellent size for a kid as young as he is.
He is a two-way player whose offense finally caught up to his play on defense this past season. During the 2018-2019 campaign, Grans tallied five goals with 12 assists in 34 games for the Malmo Redhawks of the Super Elit. He turned it up a notch this past year, scoring four goals with 23 assists for 27 points in only 27 games.
The Ljungby native excels in moving the puck and can play a 200-foot game. He’s not an overly physical defenseman, and the best word I would use to describe his defensive play is “annoying.” He has terrific closing speed and uses an active stick to frustrate opposing forwards. Grans features terrific passing from blue line to blue line, finding his forwards to create a scoring opportunity.
Watching his film, he’s careful with the puck, side skating in his own zone, or the oppositions to play keep away or buy himself more time for a one-timer, respectively. With the Redhawks, Grans led all defenders with 27 points with the next closest coming from a player who had 11 more games than he did, tallying 24 points.
NHL.com has a pro comparison of John Klingberg, which would put him in that 10-to-15 goals, 30-to-40 assists range each year while receiving Norris Trophy consideration.