Swedish D-man Arnesson tapped with B's top pick

Swedish D-man Arnesson tapped with B's top pick
July 1, 2013, 1:30 am
Share This Post

NEWARK – The Bruins waited more than three hours to make their first selection of the 2013 NHL Draft, and Linus Arnesson might not have been anybody’s best guess headed into the weekend.

But Arnesson was Boston’s selection with the 60th overall pick at the bottom of the second round during the draft held at the Prudential Center home of the New Jersey Devils.

“After sitting around for four hours waiting to make our first pick, we were really excited that Arnesson was still there for us,” said B’s assistant general manager Jim Benning.

The Swedish defenseman impressed Bruins officials during his stint with the Silver Medal-winning Team Sweden from the World Junior Tournament in Ufa, Russia, and certainly has the ideal size with a 6-foot-2 frame and 187 pounds as an 18-year old prospect. B’s European scout Jukka Holtari likened his understated skills as similar to Dennis Seidenberg or Andrew Ference, players that somebody would need to watch every day in order to appreciate.

In other words, Arnesson will never be a top drawer offensive defenseman, but he’s got a fair shot to be the kind of responsible, intelligent defenseman that have been very successful in Claude Julien’s system.

“We had good follow-up on Arnesson. Every time we saw him he played a steady defensive game with excellent defensive skills,” said Holtari. “He’s smart and anticipates the play well. He’s one of those guys you like the more you see him. If he turns out to be the player that we wish him to be, he’s going to be the style of [Andrew] Ference or [Dennis] Seidenberg. He’s one of those guys you appreciate more after seeing them a bit more.”

The 18-year-old split his season between the Swedish junior team and the Swedish Elite League Djugarden, and managed just a single assist in 31 games in the men’s league. But Arnesson showed enough for scouts to have a good idea of what he’ll bring to the table: good skating ability, solid and responsible two-way play and a willingness to stand up for his teammates.

Arnesson aspires to be all of these things while modeling his game after Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

“I consider myself a two-way defenseman. I try to play to my defensive [abilities],” said Arnesson, who was born in Stockholm. “I try to be a complete two-way defenseman with tough plays, and liking to play tough on the ice. That’s how I play.

“I played very simple for the men’s team to get the invite, and then I just played more and more. For the juniors I played a big role and had many power plays. I think I had small ice time, and then lots of ice time by the end. I’m happy with my season.”

Arnesson indicated he’s got at least one more season playing for Djugarden in the Swedish Elite League next season as an 19-year-old, and that means he’ll get one more invite to the World Junior team as well. Then it will be off to the Bruins organization to see how he measures up against the rest of the Black and Gold prospects from around the hockey world.