Weight: 187 pounds
Date of birth: September 18, 1998
Hometown: Skovde, Sweden
OHL Draft: Round 1, 36th overall, 2016 CHL Import Draft
The North Bay Battalion selected Adam Thilander with the 36th overall pick at the 2016 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. He played last season with Skelleftea AIK of the SuperElit League and appeared in 38 games scoring 3 goals and adding 12 assists.
Thilander also has a wealth of International experience with Team Sweden. He’s played at the Under-16, Under-17, the World Hockey Challenge Under-17, the World Junior Championship Under-18 and at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial. In all, he’s played in 46 International games and has scored 3 goals while adding 13 assists.
A common theme surrounding Thilander is that no one seems to know how he will translate to the National Hockey League – and truth be told, you can say that about just about any prospect at any given time. And let’s face it, he missed the 2016 draft by just three days and no one knows what would have happened had he been eligible for that draft, one that was much deeper and stronger overall than the 2017 draft is.
Defensively, Thilander plays with an awareness you can’t teach. He knows where everyone is on the ice and rarely does he let the offense to the inside. He’s a good skater, strong on his feet and is very good directionally, but he lacks the speed – both first step and overall – to be able to close gaps and doesn’t have the long stick to make up for it. He lacks size and will need to add some strength to be able to physically handle players at the NHL level.
There’s been an adjustment period for Thilander, playing his first year in North America, and I’m not so sure it’s come easy to him. I believe it’s still a work in progress. He sees the ice well and can make a good first pass on the smaller ice but will need to improve doing so while under pressure. He skates well with the puck and usually makes the smart decision.
Thilander rarely gambles offensively, preferring to make the safest play. He has an underrated shot in my opinion but he uses a variety of shots to get pucks through to the net. But he’s also not a true powerplay quarterback.
In the end, it is difficult to say what type of defenceman Thilander truly is, and what he can become. But in this draft, someone will make Thilander a pick come June.
Thilander was ranked 59th on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January.
This is the profile page of Adam Tilander at http://www.eliteprospects.com