The man with two names, Erik Sebastian Collberg, checks in at number 14 in our draft profiles. Collberg has limited experience when it comes to team play in Sweden but has excelled at the International level like few that we’ve seen so far. The 2011-2012 season saw Collberg play his first full year in the Swedish Elitserein league for Frolunda at both the Elitserein and U20 levels. At the Elitserein level, Collberg saw limited ice-time which reflected in his stats, scoring no points with only 2 penalty minutes and finishing the year with a minus-8 rating. He saw some more success at the junior level, scoring 17 points in 21 games to go along with 18 penalty minutes.
Collberg really came into his own at the 2012 World Junior Championships where he was a key member of the gold medal winning Swedish squad. In six games at the tournament, Collberg put up four goals and three assists, good for second on the team in scoring. He also put up 9 points in six games at the U18 World Championships for a Swedish team that was defeated in the final by the United States.
Weight: 174 pounds
Position: Right Wing
Born: February 23, 1994
What People In The Know Know
Gauging the right wing’s NHL potential hinges somewhat on whether a team emphasizes what Collberg did against his peers or looks at the larger sample size, where he had a donut in the point column while playing sparingly for the Frölunda Indians. The fact he played 41 games in the Elitserien as an undersized 17-year-old might also be a feather in its cap on its own, considering that a Canadian player who’s the same age would never be expected to bite off same challenge. That’s made Collberg one of the more intriguing players in this draft. He’s the third-ranked European skater according to NHL Central Scouting, but forwards with his body type (5-foot-11, 176 pounds) and skillset can often drop out of the first round entirely and wind up as value-added second-rounders (see recent Boston Bruins selections Alex Khokhlachev and Ryan Spooner out of the Ontario Hockey League).
There are genuine concerns about whether Collberg, who’s willing to go into the corners but doesn’t yet seem to have the upper-body strength to win one-on-one battles, can adapt to the NHL. The scouting service HockeyProspect.com, however, has likened his nose for the net to that of Kitchener Rangers grad Jeff Skinner, who made the NHL to stay in 2010 with the Carolina Hurricanes. Collberg is certainly on a longer track to The Show, but in a very barren year for Canadian forwards in the draft, NHL teams could do a lot worse than take a calculated risk on a skilled but undersized Swede. It’s not a direct comparison, but there were people who scoffed at the Ottawa Senators in 2008 for drafting Erik Karlsson.
Sebastian Collberg is a very exciting player with great speed and hands. I love the way he darts into small openings in the offensive zone without hesitation. He is very capable of creating chances on his own but can really raise the skill level of his linemates. He needs to put on some weight and improve his power to be effective at the next level.
Sebastian Collberg is a smaller, skilled offensive player. He is a waterbug type of player that can score goals and set them up. He will compete in small areas.
When Sweden needed a shootout to best the rival Finns in the world junior semifinal, coach Roger Ronnberg had no problem calling on Collberg.
One of the youngest players on the team, he delivered. Collberg was actually one of Sweden’s most prolific scorers on that golden squad, finishing second to Max Friberg with four goals and seven points in six games. It was a good time to shine for the right winger, since his minutes were limited with Vastra Frolunda.
“It’s a tough organization,” said one scout. “They have a tendency not to play their young guns. But Collberg has done enough internationally to show what he can do.”
That includes gold at the Five Nations tournament in Finland, as well. Not a huge player, Collberg makes up for his size with a hot release.
“He scores and he has that really short stick,” the scout said. “I don’t know how he shoots with that stick, but he’s got a really good shot.”
Collberg has at least proven that he has the ability to play with older players without embarrassing himself, though he has yet to prove that he can score with the best of them. That being said, he’s incredibly young and dominated when playing with people his own age as his performances at junior tournaments show.
Collberg is currently ranked third amongst European skaters by NHL Central Scouting and his place in the draft order should reflect that. Any team willing to take a flyer on a small, skill guy could do far worse than Collberg.