Player: Marcus Pettersson
Drafted By: Anaheim Ducks (38th overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 7 European skater
Height/Weight: 6'3'', 161 lbs
DOB: May 8, 1996 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: Skelleftea (Sweden)
Marcus Pettersson's father also played professional hockey and spent a very productive career playing in his native Sweden.
Pettersson has the height scouts love in a defenseman at 6'3", but it is not a misprint, his weight right now is somewhere in the 161-pound range.
Last season, Pettersson scored four goals and accumulated 18 points in 38 games while playing for Skelleftea in Sweden, the same club with which his father played. He also scored a goal in seven games for Sweden at the World Juniors.
Pettersson was ranked the seventh-best European skater this year by Central Scouting. If he continues to fill out and develop, scouts feel he could have a bright pro future in North America.
Full Scouting Report
It would be next to impossible for Pettersson to play in the NHL at anywhere near his current weight. There is no question he needs to bulk up, lift weights, eat protein shakes and do whatever else is necessary to add some bulk to his frame.
If he does that, most scouts see a lot of potential in Pettersson, who already does a lot of things very well on the ice.
One scout told The Hockey News in their Draft Preview issue, "He's got everything, he's just missing strength, but if he stays like this, he has no chance."
Most observers like the way Pettersson thinks of the game positionally, and how he anticipates things both with and without the puck.
Before the draft, TSN's Craig Button added, "Needs physical maturing but with it, could be a top defenceman. Excellent thinker with poise, good feetwork, competes, reads play well and will assert himself. Could be a 'steal' in this draft."
His hockey IQ and instincts are decent. He’s very tall, lanky and shy at times, yet typically makes the right play and has a lot of room for growth. You don’t notice him a lot, but when you pay attention you realize his hockey sense is pretty good. Like many Swedish defenders, he has very good skills and is very good on his skates.
Pettersson comes across as a hit-or-miss kind of prospect. If he bulks up and learns to use his size to his advantage, he could be a very good NHL defenseman. If he doesn't, he may never make it to the NHL, despite his obvious ability.
NHL Player Comparison
Pettersson is best compared to Thomas Hickey of the New York Islanders. Although Pettersson is taller than Hickey, they both play a similar style based more on intelligence and positioning rather than being overly physical. While you won't see either player make too many highlight-reel plays, they will use their subtle skills to prevent opponents from making them.
Pettersson has a lot of work to do before he's ready for the NHL. He needs to put on some muscle and weight, adjust to playing against men and to playing the more physical North American style in a smaller rink. The earliest we can expect Petterson in the NHL is 2016-17.
At his best, Pettersson projects as a second-pair defenseman, who coaches rely upon to play 22-24 minutes every night and help keep opposing teams off the scoreboard. It's not his style to be a banger or a big point producer, but Pettersson should be reliable, smart, steady and score five goals and 20 points each season.