With the 14th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Buffalo Sabres have selected Isak Rosen from Leksands IF (#24) of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL)
About Isak Rosen
While he may not be the biggest forward available at the 2021 NHL Draft, Isak Rosen may have one of the best overall offensive toolkits. Hailing from Sweden, he spent the 2020-21 season playing in the top hockey leagues in the country, eventually taking on 22 games against men in the SHL.
Even if his scoring was lacking in those games, the fact that he is already taking on these tough minutes is impressive for his young age. While matching up against players in a similar age range, Rosen has shown exceptional offensive upside, including posting seven goals and nine points in seven games at the 2021 WJC-18.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“While a good chunk of prospects eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft will be that much harder to scout because of the lack of Canadian Hockey League (CHL) action, Isak Rosen was able to get a full season under his belt in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). The 5-foot-11 winger spent the majority of this season with Leksands IF of the SHL, but also spent time with Leksands’ J20 team.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
“A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Rosen has been with the Leksands organization in some capacity for the entirety of his hockey career. He began playing for their U16 team back in 2016-17 and has been with Leksands since then, spending time with their U16, J18, J20, and pro teams. When playing with players his own age, he’s always been a standout player.
“He initially started to turn heads in 2018-19, when he became a full-time player for Leksands IF J18 of Sweden’s J18 Allsvenskan league, essentially their second-tier junior league. He put up a whopping 15 goals and 22 points in 16 games, earning him a call-up to the J20 team the following year.
“In 2019-20, he kept his ridiculous goal-scoring pace up with 21 goals and 35 points in 38 games. He even got a look with Leksands’ SHL team, albeit a small one with only one game under his belt that season. In 2020-21, he quickly demonstrated that he was too good for the J20 league, and wound up spending the majority of the season in the SHL.”
How This Affects the Sabres Plans
Despite being an undersized forward, there is a lot to like about what Rosen can bring to the Sabres. He is an incredibly gifted offensive forward, who has one of the best shots in the draft along with elite playmaking ability. If Buffalo can develop his toolkit, there is the potential for him to become a top-line forward who will take play on the first power-play unit.
However, Rosen likely won’t have an immediate impact on the Sabres. He still needs time to further strengthen his body so he can get the most out of his small frame. By taking on tough ice time against men in the SHL, though, he will be in a great position to not only learn the game but develop his skillset.
So, while it may not be the most exciting thing to say, the Sabres needs to be patient with Rosen. They have a game-breaking talent in their prospect pool, but that talent may take a few years to develop before it is ready to explode into the NHL.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.