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Chicago Blackhawks NHL Draft Profile: Otto Stenberg's shot and high-motor game make him a desirable first-round talent
The NHL Entry Draft will occur on June 28 and 29 in Nashville. If it seems like we’ve been looking towards this date since CHGO Blackhawks launched in March of 2022, it’s because we have! The Chicago Blackhawks won the right to draft future superstar Connor Bedard with the first overall pick. However, they currently own 10 picks in one of the deepest drafts in recent years, including six in the first two rounds. With that in mind, the CHGO Blackhawks crew will dive into some of the prospects the team is potentially targeting for some of those picks after changing the course of the franchise with the number one pick.
Today we’re looking at high-motor Swedish forward Otto Stenberg.
Otto Stenberg Measurables
“There is a lot to like about Stenberg’s game. He is a strong skater with good hands who can be a threat in transition. His shot is excellent, and Stenberg is often a threat to score from the faceoff dots, although I don’t know if that will be his role on an NHL power play. Stenberg isn’t the biggest forward, but he gives an honest effort every night and doesn’t shy from going into traffic. His hockey sense is good enough to score at higher levels, but he’s certainly more of a shooter than a passer.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic
“Scouts are completely mixed here. The highs are high. The lows are low. He looked out of place in the SHL but was excellent against kids his own age. The raw talent is there, especially as a 200-foot threat that can be dangerous around both nets. His biggest asset might be his play-reads.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
“There’s a legitimate drive to Stenberg. He pressures opposing defenses, has good enough puck skills to make defenders miss and can drive play. His last on-ice impression could not have been better as he put up 16 points in seven games for Sweden as they won silver at the World Men’s Under-18 Championship. The question is simply if the top end of his game is something he can repeat night in and night out, because there’s no question he has tools that can make him an impactful forward.” – Chris Peters, Flo Hockey
“There have been times where he looks like he’s trying a little too hard to impress and make things happen instead of allowing the game to come to him, but even when things aren’t going his way and the points aren’t falling, I’ve always liked his involvement level, so it’s hard to get too down on him. He’s a smooth skater. He’s got smooth hands. He’s patient under pressure and can find his way out of trouble weaving and swerving through holes or away from sticks. He’s quick side-to-side on little jumps and drags. And he likes to try to take D one-on-one, which can result in some high-end plays but also some turnovers…He’s a first-round talent who passes the eye test, and I think it’s only a matter of time until he starts to produce more consistently. I don’t think anyone who is familiar with his game would be surprised if he became a contributing top-nine forward at the NHL level someday.” – Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
Why Otto Stenberg fits with the Blackhawks
A player who can skate, shoot, create plays, and bring a high-energy drive at high levels is hard to come by. Otto Stenberg checks all of those boxes as an averaged-sized forward in this year’s draft class. At one point this season, he was considered the second-best prospect coming out of Sweden behind only presumed top-five pick Leo Carlsson. Stenberg’s play at the top level in the SHL as a draft-eligible player was less-than stellar compared to what Carlsson was able to do, but Stenberg’s U18 World Championships performance and his 11 goals and 26 points in 29 games in the U20 SHL league with Frölunda are enough to prove that he is one of the top performers amongst his peers.
When the Blackhawks want to be contending again for Stanley Cups, they’re going to need players who are versatile and can play multiple ways to find success. Stenberg is one of those players. He can score and setup teammates at a high level, play on both ends of special teams, and brings an energy-level to his game that few in this draft class match. All traits of a player that Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson wants. His biggest detractor has been his ability to do all of those things every night. Most players at this age are going to have inconsistencies in their game and it shouldn’t be enough to make Stenberg fall out of the first round. If you gaze into the crystal ball and look at a potential future lineup for the Blackhawks with the likes of Nazar, Bedard, and Reichel in the mix, it could be very conceivable to see Stenberg playing in a top-nine role much like a Kris Versteeg of successful Blackhawks team in the past.
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