The NHL draft is quite the thing. Based on where you are drafted, the hype either begins very quickly or does not begin at all. In Jesper Fasth's case, there was absolutely no hype and he was seen as just another tweener.
For those of you who look at a late round draft pick and immediately write him off, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Lundqivst, and Henrik Zetterberg would all like to have a word with you. Drafted 171st, 205th, and 210th overall, respectively, these three stars were once no names. Jesper Fasth looks to add himself to that list of written off prospects and prove himself to be a late round steal.
Fasth, drafted 157th overall by the Rangers has so far proven himself to be a steal. Although he has never played in an NHL game, he does have some credebility. Unlike many young star prospects who tear apart the OHL, a league full of young, under-developed teenagers, Fasth plays in the Swedish Elite League, a league of men. It is arguably the second best league in the world and is made up of men, some of which are former NHL players and European stars.
Jesper tallied 7 goals and 16 points last season in the SEL as an 18 year old, a feat that is to say the least, quite impressive. He looks to build off a strong rookie season and he is off to a great start so far. Fasth has already recorded 9 points in only 7 games so far this season, coming off of a 5 point performance Tuesday night with the Rangers staff on hand. Rangers Head European Scout, Anders Hedberg was in attendance. "He is going to be a good player. Is he an NHL prospect? In my mind, absolutely yes", said Hedberg.
Leslie Treff of Hockey's Future had this to say about Fasth when ranking the Rangers prospects. "Great hands, hockey sense, combined with speed was what we saw over and over again from Fasth. I see him as a second line winger, about two years away from NHL play. The question is whether there will be room for him, but he's the kind of player, you make room for--he's that good." What about that doesn't spell an NHL player? Nothing.
Fasth is on pace to score 70 points this season in the SEL's 55 game long season. Now while we all know that won't happen, it gives us a sense of where he is at. As a 19 year old kid, if he were to put up 40 points in the SEL, Ranger fans would have a new prospect to be clamoring about besides speedster Chris Kreider and sniper Christian Thomas.
In the last World Juniors Championship, Fasth posted 4 goals and 2 assists in 6 games and stood out every shift. He is a great two-way player with very good offensive instincts. He weighs in at 175 pounds and is 5"11' so there is not much more filling out he needs to do. Don't expect this to be the last time you here about Fasth this season and be sure to expect him battling for a roster spot in the near future. This young Swede's got talent and he isn't going to let his draft number get in the way of showcasing it.