Prospect Preview: Sebastian Collberg

Update: Collberg selected 33rd overall by Montreal.

Sebastian Collberg
Position: Right Winger
Height: 5’11
Weight: 176
Shoots: Right
Born: 02/23/94, Mariestad, Sweden Sweden
NHL Central Scouting Rank: #3 European Skater
Player Pages:   NHLEPSELHF

Talent Analysis:
Collberg is a scorer, plain and simple.  He’s a speedy winger with a good shot and a snappy release that he’s not reticent about using.  He’s good at one-on-one moves against defenders and his tiny stick allows him to control the puck in tight on shootouts, too.  He’s not afraid to initiate contact with defensemen and he goes to the high-traffic areas where the real work gets done.  He can score in the clutch, and his game is built for the NHL. 

Last Season:
After being an offensive focal point at every other level, Collberg went without a point or a penalty and posted a -8 rating in 41 Swedish Elite League games this season with Vastra Frölunda HC.  This is not uncommon, as even Nicklas Backstrom went scoreless in his first season.  Frölunda is not known for playing their younger players much (Collberg only averaged 6:55 per night), but there is also a much greater emphasis on practice in Europe, so Collberg was not losing development time.  The young Swede also suited up for 21 games in the U20 Superelit league, posting 9 goals and 17 points.  Collberg did light up the World Junior Championships with 4 goals and 7 points in 6 games, and he put on quite a show at the World Under-18s, too, posting 9 points in 6 games as he took home silver.   Overall it was an excellent developmental season, as he got to play safe minutes against grown men and he got to shine offensively against players his own age. 

NHL Projection:
Collberg projects to be a scoring winger in the NHL, but he needs to add bulk to his frame to be able to play the type of power game in the NHL.  His speed and stick skills won’t be an issue, and his Swedish training means he should be at least passable on defense from Day 1 of his NHL career.  He should fit right into the Capitals’ plans as a future first or second liner. 

Will the Capitals draft him?:
Several pundits seem to think so.  Adam Kimelman and Steven Hoffner of have the Capitals taking Collberg with the 16th pick.  The Hockey News ranks him 14th, also right in the Caps’ wheelhouse with either the 11th or 16th pick.  Judging by McPhee’s affinity for Swedes (10 of 126 draft picks and 3 of 19 first-rounders) and for players who don’t take penalties, Collberg is a likely bet. 

Plans for next season:
If the Capitals draft Collberg, it’s a good bet he’ll return to Frölunda next season where he’ll be expected to take on a much larger role before getting a real chance to make the NHL squad in 2013.  If his frame does not fill out as expected, he may play another season in Sweden, too, or McPhee may try to lure him to the AHL as he continues to develop his game.  He should be in the NHL no later than October 2014.