Contrary to popular belief, I’m not against physical players. Far from it; the fan in me loves few things more than a big hit, and if you can find a way to turn that into a shift in possession and a chance for your team, then I’ll defend you to the death.
Typically, that doesn’t happen. But from what we’ve seen, Andreas Borgman has the ability to be that best-of-both-worlds type player, and that’s pretty exciting.
|Age||22 (June 18, 1995)||Birthplace||Stockholm, SWE|
|Vitals||6’0, 205lbs||Acquired||Via Free Agency (2017)|
(For a much more in-depth look at Borgman’s backstory, I highly recommend Katya Knappe’s profile on him over at PPP.)
Much like Calle Rosen, Borgman wasn’t drafted, or given that much consideration; some of the more courageous prospect ranking services had him in the 6th or 7th round in 2013, assuming that his SuperElit season was the start of something more.
Teams didn’t quite feel the same way, though; despite Borgman leading Timra IK’s U20 team in points by a defenceman, finishing 4th in U18 defensive points in the league, and getting an SHL call-up, he didn’t get much consideration.
Since then, Borgman followed that year up with another successful SuperElit season, three gradually improving Allsvenskan years, all leading to a move to HV71 last year.
|16||2011-12||Timrå IK J18||J18 Elit||19||7||5||12||8.3||36||10|
|16||Timrå IK J18||J18 Allsvenskan||14||3||8||11||10.3||35||9|
|17||2012-13||Timrå IK J20||SuperElit||38||8||13||21||11.3||72||9|
|18||2013-14||Timrå IK J20||SuperElit||33||5||18||23||14.3||84||1|
|20||2015-16||VIK Västerås HK||Allsvenskan||52||5||11||16||11.6||44||3|
To put it lightly, he shocked many across the league with how ready he was to make the jump. While points aren’t the driving force in his came, he did still manage to land in the Top 30 in the SHL in points per game. Not just that, but he turned his team into a towering force in the league, contributing in all situations, playing against all sorts of competition, and absolutely exploding in the playoffs, scoring 10 points in 14 games en route to a league championship.
For his efforts, Borgman was named the SHL’s rookie of the year, an honour that’s been bestowed on the likes of Henrik Zetterberg, Tobias Enstrom, Loui Eriksson, Nicklas Backstrom, Patrik Hornqvist, Victor Hedman, Jacob Markstrom, and Mattias Ekholm in the past 15 years. That’s some pretty good company.
Oh, and Andreas Johnsson won it a few years back too.
|pGPSn||pGPSs||Exp. Success %||Exp. P/82||Exp. Value|
|60 (18/31)||9 (23/31)||18.2% (15/31)||32.1 (13/31)||5.8 (15/31)|
The above numbers are products of the Prospect Graduation Probabilities System (pGPS), created by Canucks Army to project a prospect’s odds of becoming an NHL regular. For a run-down on what each of these stats mean, head back to the introduction.
Unlike Calle Rosen before him, Borgman has a few more substantial names in his comparables list; most notably, you’ll find Tobias Enstrom in one corner and Nicklas Kronwall on another. Many are undoubtedly hoping that Kronwall is the player he matches up with in the long run, be it for the footspeed, the ability to chip in points, or most likely, for those booming, booming hits.
While Borgman isn’t as strong of a skater as Rosen is, the preseason has shown that he too is capable of keeping up. He’s comfortable with holding the puck, but as someone that isn’t as instinctively creative with it as your typical, pure offensive defenceman, he may need an adjustment period to the NHL’s faster speed and smaller ice. Most of all, though, Borgman is known for his no-nonsense element of edge to his game, never afraid to throw around his body or dive into tough spots to get the puck back or push it forward.
The Upcoming Year
At the start of training camp, my expectation was that Borgman would find his way into becoming the third pairing left defenceman for the Leafs come opening night. Now, that’s slightly up for debate; Calle Rosen has is pleading his case in a big way and might steal that initial spot.
With that said, Borgman fills the physicality quota a little better. I wouldn’t be surprised that if it came to a point where one of them dressed and the other didn’t, he’d be more likely to get the nod on a given day.
Borgman’s extra year and a half of youth over Rosen is perhaps the biggest reason for picking him as the more valuable long-term player. He may not have the same skating ability, but makes up for it in physicality and the results he’s produced at his age have been impressive.
How he develops compared to the rest of his peers and how the present core of Leafs defencemen play into their veteran years will dictate his long-term opportunities within the organization, but being able to carry an edge while still being an effective all-around player should make him a regular, maybe even minute-eating contributor in the NHL for a while yet.
To see the other profiles in this year’s series, please reference the full list.
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