2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Noah Östlund

Social Navigation


2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Noah Östlund

Chicago Blackhawks

As the Blackhawks prepare for the 2022 NHL Draft, we’re profiling some prospects who might be on their draft board when their first pick is on the clock (assuming they stay at No. 38 overall).

Thus far, we have looked at the draft credentials of forwards Jack Hughes and Rieger Lorenz. Now, let’s examine a young center from Sweden (who happens to share a birthday with my brother).

Noah Östlund

Center
DOB: March 11, 2004
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 163
Shoots: Left
2021-22 season: Djurgårdens U20

Ranked #23 by Scott Wheeler (The Athletic)
Ranked #40 by Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
Ranked #18 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #51 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #32 by Chris Peters
Ranked #27 by Consolidated Ranking
Ranked #33 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #21 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #19 by McKeen’s Hockey
Ranked #41 by TSN/Craig Button
Ranked #13 by Recruit Scouting
Ranked #31 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
Ranked #30 by Draft Prospects Hockey
Ranked #10 by Smaht Scouting
Ranked #29 by The Puck Authority

From Corey Pronman’s Analysis:

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: Above NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shot: Below NHL average

“Östlund possesses impressive speed and skill. He’s able to be an asset in transition due to his ability to create controlled entries and make defenders miss. He has a pass-first mentality but can make difficult plays at a high rate. Östlund has the poise to run a power-play unit and find seams but he’s not much of a shot threat. Östlund isn’t the biggest, but he works hard enough and has shown as a junior he can be reliable defensively. He looks like a bottom-six center in the NHL.”

From Scott Wheeler’s Analysis: 

“Östlund’s calling card is his airy, agile skating stride, excellent hands, cleverness, and two-way ability. The skating and defensive aptitude (including on faceoffs) make him an able penalty killer and the rest give him clear tools of creation at five-on-five and on the power play. He wins a ton of short races, creates quickly as soon as he’s in possession, and darts around the ice in control to get into scoring areas or facilitate from the perimeter. His lack of size and strength are definitely going to be impediments as he progresses up levels, but he’s got the benefit of time, his skating, and the fondness coaches have for him to fall back on.”

From Chris Peters’ Analysis:

“A playmaking center, Östlund was a big part of Sweden’s win at the World U18s. He played a ton, has enough defensively to get by. I think the big concern is that his skating is only OK for a player of his size and he needs to get stronger. But, I think there are teams that would pick him in the first if he was in the right spot. But he’s polarizing enough where he might slip and I like the idea of a center there. Centers are hard to find and I think Östlund has a real chance to be a good one down the line. He just needs more time to round out his game.”

From Smaht Scouting:

“When facing tight pressure in the offensive zone, that is when Östlund truly shows what he can bring to the table. Östlund can be very relentless with his pursuit to find tight passing lanes to exploit when he is facing tough vest to vest pressure. While he can be relentless with his pursuit, he doesn’t get frustrated and give up when he can’t find a lane. He doesn’t fire a shot when running out of options unless he absolutely has to. But, when he does find lanes he takes advantage of them right away. Östlund has managed to complete quick tight seam passes to his regular linemates, Jonathan Lekkerimäki and Liam Öhgren. Not only does he complete seam passes through tight quarters, but has also shown that he can wire accurate trajectory / route passes when he runs out of space along the half-wall and identifies a teammate skating hard to the slot. There is also quite a bit of William Eklund in Östlund, especially with how he handles pressure with deception.”

From Last Word on Hockey:

Projection and Comparison:

“Djurgårdens was relegated from the SHL and will play in the second division, the Swedish Allsvenskan next year. This might be a blessing in disguise for Östlund and many of his young teammates. They will be able to play more minutes for the team and continue to develop while also playing against men. Expect to see Östlund back in Sweden and playing for his country at the World Juniors. He also will get the opportunity to round out his game, learn to shoot more, and get stronger. After a couple of years in Sweden, he should come to North America and look to play on smaller ice in the AHL or NHL. Östlund’s game is reminiscent of Brayden Point. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on his skill and ability.”

Is Östlund a fit in Chicago?

Some recent mock drafts have Östlund coming off the board in the late-first round, so this might be a cross-your-fingers prospect for Hawks fans to consider if the team stays at No. 38 overall… or, the organization might like him enough to consider moving up to get him.

Why would the Blackhawks like Östlund? He’s an adequate skater with above average grades for his puck skills and compete. Pronman says he could run a power play and he’s defensively reliable, both of which are elements Chicago should be looking for in this draft. And as Peters pointed out, with proper development he could be a gem in the rough.

Peters saying he’s a polarizing prospect is on full display when you look at where scouts have him ranked — anywhere from 10 to 51, with Bob McKenzie (aka The Godfather) having him the lowest on the list. But this draft is going to require some time for any prospect outside the top 3-5 picks to develop, so having the right elements that the Blackhawks are looking for going into the draft is important. He played a significant role on a winner for Sweden, which also helps adding more of that mindset to the culture of the organization moving forward.



Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab