Zion Nybeck plays for HV71 in the SHL. He just signed a contract through 2023. So, the team that drafts him knows that he will be developed overseas.
Nybeck feels like a late second-rounder. Some won’t like the risk of his size, since he’s only 5-8, but he has some other facets to his game, including his goal-scoring and being strong on the puck, that some franchises will deem risk worthy.
“I think my best spot is around the net. I’m good at finding an open spot and where the puck will go,” said Nybeck.
He doesn’t get run at by bigger guys there.
“No, I don’t feel small on the ice. It’s something I’m not thinking about. I’m just the same as everybody else,” Nybeck added.
This winger has speed, and he’s quick with the puck. His decision making is good, and he’s a playmaker who can score with a strong wrist shot.
“I worked on my strength and my explosiveness. I want to get faster,” Nybeck stated.
The season has started for him. He’s now two games in. It’s an odd time for 2020 NHL Draft prospects, but he’s making the best of it.
“I have the opportunity to stay this season in Sweden, so I can show the scouts what I can do in the SHL,” said Nybeck.
He’s felt good on the ice, and that’s something is giving him even more confidence.
“We lost our first game, so that’s not so good, but I felt pretty good after the game. I had a lot left in the game.”
Linus Sandin (older brother of Leafs defenseman, Rasmus) is on loan from the Flyers currently, and Nybeck gave a scouting report on him.
“He’s a really good person. He has taken care of me and helped me while on the team. He’s a great hockey player. He has an amazing shot. I think he will be a really good player for them.”
Nybeck enjoys playing in North America.
“I’ve played in maybe two tournaments in North America,” Nybeck remembered. “I think I like it better. The ice is much smaller, so it’s an opportunity to score more. And find the right spots. That would help my game even more. Everything goes much faster. I’m good at playing in small areas.”
When he gets drafted, he may find out watching television like everybody else.
“I know we don’t have any games the days the draft is occurring,” he revealed. “I will hopefully stay up and watch it with my family. It’s going to be a long day. Most teams called before summer break and now again. I get asked most about my height and sometimes my goal scoring. Most are asking what my best ability is on the ice. I tell them my hockey I.Q. and scoring ability is best.”
Like most, he had a favorite player growing up.
“When I was younger, I watched a lot of Peter Forsberg. I think is one of the greatest offensive players. I don’t think I can compare my ability to his,” Nybeck said with a smile. “I think I see the ice pretty well and my passing ability, so maybe someday.”
Last year he worried about making mistakes on the ice but not this year. He’s a lot more confident, and he has a lot to offer to the team that selects him. He’s just learning how to play golf, so that’s something he should be good at when he hits North America someday.
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