By Eldon MacDonald
41. Victor Rask - “Mr. Boom or Bust” - C - Sweden
Vitals: Size - 6’2”, 194 lb.; Shoots left; Born: 1-Mar-93 - Leksand, Sweden
Team: Leksand, Allsvensdan (SWE-2)
2010-11 Stats: 37-5-6-11-8 + SWE 2 playoffs 4-0-1-1-9-(-4) + U18 6-2-3-5-4-(+5)
26 - ISS's June Rankings
34 - Kirk Luedeke's Top 50
36 - hfboards Readers’ Poll
37 - The Scouting Report's Top 100 Skaters
38 - Future Considerations Final Rankings
40 - Bob MacKenzie's June NHL Scouts Poll
41 - E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120
41 - Cory Pronman's Top 100
43 - Christopher Ralph's Top 210
54 - The Hockey News per TSN
75 - NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings (12th European skater)
42 - Carolina Hurricane
Victor Rask entered this year with enormous expectations. A point a game player in the Swedish J20 league last year plus five points in six games at the 2010 U18’s, he was close to the top on most rankings - top five with ISS for three months running and even 16th in Bob MacKenzie’s poll of NHL scouts published in January.
However, this year started off badly when he didn’t score at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. He was terrible at the Five Nations Tournament in February. Some say he partially redeemed himself with his performance at the U18’s when he got five points in six games. However, a closer look reveals that if you exclude the 10-2 blowout against the significantly less talented Norway Team, Victor only got two points in the other five games, not overly impressive. In addition, he was a decidedly non-factor in the gold medal game against the USA. Combine the international experiences with a lack luster season in the Allsvenskan (Swedish tier 2 men’s professional league) and you have a big faller on most draft rankings.
In spite of his performance not meeting expectations, Victor still possesses an impressive array of talents that will still likely get him drafted in the first or second rounds. And these skills run the gamut with about almost everything you want to hear about a great offensive centerman - size, shot, skating skills, vision, creativity, puck handling, puck distribution, face-off performance. His biggest negative is between the ears as he doesn’t always use those talents to their fullest. Kyle Woodlief of Redline report describes it best when he says, “Not sure what’s going on with this guy, but he has become an enigma (and that’s putting it mildly) for us. He has size and puckhandling skill, but he’s consistently playing with no passion, winning no battles and just not accomplishing much.”
Where does Victor Rask go in the draft? If you are drafting on talent alone, Victor Rask is definitely first round material. If you factor in the ears, you are likely to be looking at early to mid second. Anders Ostberg , the Swedish prospect blogger, says that the only way Victor Rask will go in the first round is if the team drafting him doesn’t have a Swedish scout. Victor Rask could end up being the steal of the draft or the bust of the draft.