Who is this guy?
What are they saying about him?
Sundqvist is known for his size and his temperament, a rare combination amongst the skill forwards of the Swedish Hockey League. Whereas we previously mentioned that Philip Samuelsson got the physicality and defensive nature of his father without the nasty disposition, we now find a fellow Swede in Sundqvist who seems to bring with him the fiery Swede Ulf's over the top fierce disposition. But he isn't simply a physical force, he also has slick hands with a keen knack for scoring goals. Back in Prospect Development Camp in July he was noticeably one of the best forwards on the ice, racking up multiple goals in their various scrimmages. Some of the scouts back before he was drafted said he "is big and rangy, skates hard with good hands and skills in tight" and have favorably compared him to Peter Forsberg.
He is projected as a 2nd/3rd line two-way forward or alternatively a "Power Center" in the vein of the big powerful Centers that were common in the 90s such as the aforementioned Forsberg. But it is not all positive, as one major flaw in his game is that his fiery temper has led to him taking some bad penalties. Hockey's Future tells us "Aside from learning how to play on a smaller rink, he must add considerable weight and strength to his frame. He also needs to develop more explosiveness and cut back on penalties" but are still generally optimistic about his chances of making a name for himself, saying "given his size, skating, and offensive skills, he could one day develop into an effective two-way center." Lastly we have a snippet from one of his prospect proflies:
Where has he been?
Sundqvist has spent the past 3 seasons in Sweden playing within the junior levels of the Skellefteå AIK organization. He spent his first two seasons in the J18 club. In his rookie season he was already one of the top scorers on his team, finishing 4th in Goals and 5th in Points, as well as 3rd in Penalty Minutes in the J18 Elit. When they moved up to the J18 Allsvenskan, he remained 4th in Goals but fell to 7th in Points and 4th in Penalty Minutes. He didn't fare so well in the playoffs, but continued to rack up PIMs, being 2nd on his team.
The following season in the J18 Elit he finished 2nd on his team in both Points and Penalty Minutes, although his Goal total took a hit as he learned to focus more on setting up his teammates, finishing 5th in Goals. Then when they moved up to the J18 Allsvenskan he finished 1st on his team in Goals and Points in both the regular season and playoffs. He was also 1st in Penalty Minutes again during the regular season, but merely 3rd in the playoffs. He also managed to finish #1 on Goals and #2 in Points for the entire league during the playoffs that year, and the team walked away with a Silver medal.
During his first 2 years he only played a collective 3 games with the J20 club, but he moved up during his 3rd season last year. During the regular season he finished 2nd in Goals and Points, and 5th in Penalty Minutes, despite playing in fewer games than many of his teammates because he split the season playing 38 games in J20 and 14 with the adult club in the SHL. During the playoffs though he was 1st in Goals and Points again, and 3rd in Penalty Minutes. Internationally he has played for Team Sweden U19 and U20, and was invited to Team Sweden's World Junior U20 Camp this year, as well as being considered as a long shot candidate for the Olympics roster.
When can we expect to see him?
Sundqvist signed a 3 year extension this summer to continue playing in Sweden, however it has an out so that he can come to North America to play for the Penguins before it runs out if he wants. He has stated that he would like to play in the adult league in Sweden for another year or two before coming over though, so it could be another 1-3 years before we even see him in WBS, with another year or two adjusting to North American hockey in the AHL before moving up, so I'd give him 3-5 years before he hits the NHL. Of course he might not even want to leave Europe, we will find out in a couple years what happens there.
Why is he #7?
Sundqvist received 1 vote for 6th, 4 votes for 8th, 1 vote for 11th, 1 vote for 16th, and 2 votes for 23rd.
How can he climb the list?
Sundqvist is starting his first season playing in the adult league in the SHL this year, so one major factor is that he needs to prove that he can perform as well against adults as he did against the kids he faced in the J18 and J20 leagues. As mentioned above he also has to learn to limit his habit of taking bad penalties, which he has already gotten better at over the years. And he has excellent height, but they would like him to bulk up by adding some more muscle to his frame. And lastly he needs to adjust to playing in the smaller rinks in North America.
"I think, from big to small, it's easier than going from small to big. I feel like [the timing] is the most important thing. [When] you have a guy on you directly, in Sweden you'd have a little more time, maybe a few seconds to think what you should to do, so that's a big difference. In Sweden there's not as much contact as there is here, but I like when it's a little bit tougher."