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Noah Ostlund



Scout: Nate [2023-05-25]


Buffalo Sabres
2022 NHL Entry Draft
1st Round Pick
16th Overall Selection by the Buffalo Sabres

MAIN REPORT
Skating:

Above-Average - I think Ostlund’s speed reached another level in his second season in the SHL, there were times when he looked to be all over the ice, speeding around the offensive zone to support his teammates and being the first forward back in the defensive zone. While I will say his physicality and strength needs work later in this report, I was impressed with his agility at times, using his edges to bounce off checks from stronger opponents. When at full speed he’s fine, it’s when he gets in more stand-alone battles in the corners and in front of the net that his lack of strength becomes a factor.

Puck handling:

Elite - Watching Ostlund go through traffic with the puck on a string is fun to watch, and gives me more confidence that he could succeed in North America. He doesn’t shy away from high-traffic areas as much as he did in his first SHL season, and built more confidence with the puck as the season went on. His playmaking is the most elite of his skills, always having the ability to find his open teammates and making everyone around him better. Where this really shines is on the powerplay, working the half-wall and controlling the play the full time he is out there. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but he would look really good working the puck around on an NHL powerplay with Rasmus Dahlin and Tage Thompson.

Shot:

Average - Ostlund’s shot doesn’t have the power to blow many goalies away, right now he definitely doesn’t have the shot makeup of a goal-scorer. I have noticed that his release does have some deception that can fool goaltenders, so if he can work on his strength and improve his shot then he could increase his goal total.

IQ (vision, offensive and defensive anticipation, panic meter):

Elite - One thing that stands out to me about Ostlund is that he seems to always be in the right position. Whether it is supporting his defenseman in the defensive zone or giving his linemates an outlet when attacking. He shows elite vision in the offensive zone and specifically on the powerplay. In his second season in the SHL he has shown a lot more poise, controlling the game with the puck on his stick. While he shied away sometimes from it in his rookie year, he demanded the puck at times this season, precisely in crucial moments when his team needed a goal. There’s a reason many scouts labelled him as being one of the smartest players in his draft class.

Defense:

Above-Average - Ostlund is very reliable on the defensive end, evident that he prides himself on his defensive game even though he is an elite playmaking forward. In the defensive end he is always below the puck, supporting his defenseman. Also has a great stick, taking away many scoring chances by breaking up passes and catching players on the backcheck.

Best Asset:

Playmaking - As outlined in the puck handling section, Ostlund has the chance to be an elite playmaking centre at the pro level.

Biggest Concern:

Strength and Physical Play - He has improved on this in his second season in the SHL, but he still gets pushed around quite a bit by bigger defenseman when they challenge him physically. He will need to improve on this a lot more to succeed in North America, and the fact that he thrives in the more wide open European game gives me cause for concern that he may feel that staying in Sweden gives him a better avenue for pro success.

Top Tier Potential:

First-Line Centre - Ostlund can be a very effective two-way center at the NHL level. He has the ability to be defensively responsible at his own end, and if playing with two skilled wingers could be an elite distributor of the puck at the offensive end. There are some caveats to this becoming a reality, he needs to:

  • Increase size and strength to battle other teams' top defensive players

  • Adjust to the North American game as playing on the larger international ice plays a big factor in his success

Most Likely Tier:

Middle-Six Forward - Ostlund’s more likely path will be a middle-six forward on a good Sabres team, moving up and down the lineup since his strengths can be effective with any linemate who can finish. He will always have a spot on the team’s powerplay with his ability to work the half wall using his elite playmaking.

Stylistic Comparable:

Brayden Point - Stylistically, I see a lot of Brayden Point in his game. Supportive and reliable in the defensive zone, flying everywhere around the ice in the offensive zone supporting his teammates, and an uncanny ability to play with skilled players and get them the puck. If he can get his scoring ability and physicality to Point’s level, Buffalo will have something special here like Tampa.

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