2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Lucas Pettersson

The Scouting Report:

Lucas Pettersson is an eighteen-year-old forward from Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. Born on April 17, 2006, Pettersson has been on the radar of forwards coming into the NHL for his variety of hockey talents. Best known for his goal-scoring ability in the Swedish MoDo J20 league, Pettersson made his SHL debut in November 2023. While he has signed a contract through 2027 with the league, he is still projected to be drafted by the NHL this June. He played five games in the SHL this season with no points. Pettersson is known to recruiters and Swedish hockey media as being a well-rounded offensive player. In the J20 league last season, Petterson ranked a total of fifty-seven points and twenty-seven goals.

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Draft Projections

Ranked #48 by Inside The Rink
Ranked #10 by NHL Central Scouting EU
Ranked #31 by TSN/Bob McKenzie
Ranked #34 by Sportsnet/Bukala
Ranked #37 by The Hockey Writers/Horn

Conrad Jack of Inside The Rink has Lucas Pettersson at forty-eighth overall.

I’ve highlighted some of Pettersson’s attributes, let’s take a deeper dive into his attributes and areas for improvement.

Diving Deeper:

Shot

While Pettersson in the J20 leagues was memorable for his goals (and celebrations after scoring), the stickwork and shots he took before those goals stand out more. Pettersson’s wrist and slap shots have been noted first in many other scouting reports. The Hockey Writers’ Alex Chauvancy described Pettersson’s shot as being “better than his playmaking” and found that Pettersson’s shot gives him the ability to “score off the rush, but he’ll also go to dirty areas and knock home rebounds or loose pucks into the back of the net.”

Another scouting report from March 9 describes Pettersson’s shot aligning with his speed, another strength of his: “He rotates into shooting lanes effectively on the penalty kill and has good jump to win 50/50 races to pucks. He’s best described as equal parts shooter/distributor who plays the game fast.” While Pettersson is not expected to be a constant, elite scorer, his shot has been a consistent factor in his game.

“An offensively gifted center who can set up his teammates in scoring positions from anywhere on the rink. Possessions a good wrist shot which he uses with accuracy from the slot for good scoring chances.” – Erik Ohlsson

Hockey IQ

Another aspect of the game that Pettersson has scored well on in every scouting report thus far has been his hockey IQ. In a February 10 scouting report, Pettersson was referred to as a “jack of all trades” on the ice, using “creative thinking” to stay “involved every shift”. Chavauncy described Pettersson’s playstyle as being a “sound two-way center” due to his hockey sense that allows for him to process and respond to the game “faster than opponents.” Reports from April, March, and February all scored Pettersson in the “A” level of hockey IQ, maintaining that Pettersson’s hockey sense is a major role in his game and is clearly visible on the ice.

“At his best, an offensively gifted center with a high pace, well-rounded two-way game.” – Sebastian High

On-Ice Abilities:

Outside of his shot and hockey IQ, Pettersson is a well-rounded offensive and defensive player with impressive speed and skating skills. In Chavauncy’s report, he found that Pettersson has a strength of being an “excellent skater who plays with pace, which allows him to excel off the rush.” A scouting report from April 28 and March 9 rated Pettersson’s skating at a 94% efficiency rate. April’s report noted Pettersson’s ability on defense, stating that he “takes key defensive faceoffs.” March’s report found Pettersson to be “committed defensively…. he rotates into shooting lanes effectively on the penalty kill and has good jump to win 50/50 races to pucks.”

Prospect Potential:

Despite Pettersson’s impressive stats and standing out both offensively and defensively, prior scouting reports have noted a minor lack of consistency. High stated that Pettersson “needs to show his best more consistently”, and Chavauncy found that “most questions about Pettersson’s game revolve around his compete level.” More professional hockey experience, whether that is in the AHL or SHL would likely fix that issue, and wouldn’t be a major issue in Pettersson’s professional hockey career.

Best Potential Fit:

Taking Pettersson’s hockey talent, strengths, growth areas, overall NHL team needs, and projected draft status all into account, if Pettersson is drafted in the first round (as only the first twenty-eight picks/first round pick order are available to the public at this time), it would not be a major shock to see him as a Carolina Hurricane.

Drafting at number twenty-seven, the Hurricanes are in a challenging spot this offseason after a disappointing round two playoff exit in a year where they were expected to be Cup contenders. The organization has multiple challenging decisions when it comes to contracts, and after the surprise resignation of GM and president Don Waddell, what the late first round pick will be is unpredictable. The Hurricanes are in need of a 2C, which will likely be where Pettersson ends up. While Waddell noted that the organization wanted a right-shot 2C, and Pettersson is a left-shot 2C, his drafting is a low risk with a fairly cheap RFA rookie contract. Despite the organization’s April-May signings of prospects, none are 2Cs that would fit into coach Rod Brind’Amour’s system. The Hurricanes are also frequent playoff contenders, and a contract like Pettersson’s would give the organization more room to adapt around star players that are now free agents. It makes sense to see Pettersson as a Carolina Hurricane, despite twenty-seven being a higher drafting point than expected.

Final Thoughts

Lucas Pettersson, despite being expected to be a late-first round or early second-round pick, has the potential to be a hidden NHL gem. Under a well-managed organization that can adapt around Pettersson’s strengths, he has the potential to become a consistent franchise talent due to his offensive and defensive abilities. Pettersson has a bright future both in the SHL and NHL, and many teams would be lucky to have him on their roster once he gains more experience and playing time.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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