The Vancouver Canucks have signed 22-year-old Swedish defenceman Tom Nilsson to a one-year, two-way contract.
A fourth round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2011 Draft, Nilsson played his first season in North America in 2014-15 with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. He put up 6 points (1-5-6) in 44 games with the Leafs affiliate, before moving back to Sweden last season to play with Frolunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League.
The 6’0″, 180-pound right-shot blueliner was traded to the New York Islanders in a multi-player deal that saw former Canuck Michael Grabner head to Toronto back in September. Nilsson was waived by the Islanders in October for the purpose of releasing him from his contract.
Last season with Frolunda, Nilsson put up 7 points (1-6-7) in 37 games.
As you may have guessed from his stat-line, Nilsson is not a big point producer, excelling more at the defensive side of the game.
Here’s a scouting report, courtesy of Hockey’s Future:
Nilsson is a throwback, heavy body-checking, defensive defenceman who draws the ire of his opponents with his sometimes borderline legal, antagonistic play. Some scouts see elements of long-time NHL defenceman Ulf Samuelsson in his approach to the game, but he has not yet demonstrated the same offensive elements and instincts as Samuelsson. A right-handed shooting defenceman (somewhat rare among Europeans), Nilsson has a solid shot from the point.
Nilsson is well down the defensive depth chart for the Canucks, and should start with the Utica Comets. Given his age, he has time to develop as a player, so he’ll be a player to monitor next season.