First Pick Linus Arnesson Solid, Two-Way Defenseman
BostonBruins.com - When the No. 60 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft came around in the final half of the second round, the Bruins were on the clock.
It marked Boston's first selection of the afternoon (their 29th overall pick was owned by the Dallas Stars, a piece of the Jaromir Jagr trade), and they were pleased with the defenseman available to them, a 6-foot-1, 179-pound native of Stockholm, Sweden, Linus Arnesson.
"We were really excited about getting our first pick Linus Arnesson," said Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting Wayne Smith from the draft floor once the last round concluded.
"I think that we had envisioned that we weren’t going to be able to get him, so any time you can get a player who played in the World Junior tournament as an underage player, we get excited about those types of players."
World Juniors' squads are made up of under-20 players, and Arnesson made Sweden's team as an 18-year-old, playing in six games en route to their silver medal.
"Steady defenseman, takes away ice, very difficult to take one-on-one, responsible, sticks up for his teammates," said Smith. "He plays a good puck moving game and has size to go with it."
Arnesson was one of 15 European players invited to the NHL's Scouting Combine in May in Toronto, part of the group considered to be the top performers from Europe heading into the 2013 draft. He was ranked 13th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting in their final rankings, and second among defensemen.
"I think I had a very good meeting with them at the combine and I got a really good feeling of the Bruins, too," Arnesson said on a conference call from Sweden after he was drafted. "And I’m very happy right now to be selected by them."
"I think we came out of it with the same idea of what player I was," he added. "They mentioned me to be a good player in their organization -- I like to play hard. Ever since, they had a good idea of what player I was. That was good and a reason I think it went well."
Bruins' General Manager Peter Chiarelli offered his thoughts on Arnesson from the draft floor not long after he was drafted.
"There’s an element of skill and toughness in all players. Arnesson is a real solid defender," he said, before going on to characterize him as a versatile defenseman who is a good skater and not necessarily a "banger," but a "solid, two-way defenseman."
Arnesson looks at himself in the same light.
"I consider myself a two-way defenseman," he said. "I try to play defensive, I try to be a complete two-way defenseman with tough play and just being tough on the ice. That’s how I play."
The blueliner played in Sweden in 2012-13 for Djurgarden, splitting time between their junior and their men's squad in Sweden's second division.
Arnesson earned an assist and racked up eight penalty minutes in 31 games with the men's team. He notched one goal, three assists and 22 penalty minutes in 13 appearances with the junior team.
He'll play next season in Sweden, and hopes to then play in North America. His development focus is on building more muscle mass in order to be ready for North American hockey.
The defenseman compared his game to Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson, a fellow Swede, sighting his offensive upside.
"He plays very tough."
The Bruins' European head scout, Jukka Holtari, liked the good follow-up the organization had gotten on Arnesson prior to the draft.
"Every time we see him, he plays a steady game. Excellent defensive skills, smart, anticipates play well. Pretty much one of those guys that you like the more you see him," said Holtari.
"And if he turns out the player we wish him to be, it’s going to be the style of [Andrew] Ference or [Dennis] Seidenberg. One of those guys you appreciate more after seeing more."
It's not known yet whether Arnesson will be coming overseas for the Bruins' annual development camp, taking place from July 10-15, but he's already familiar with this team and their style.
"I watched them - I think they are a very tough team," said the D-man. "I’m really happy to be a part of the Bruins right now."