With their third round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, the Rangers took forward Oliver Tarnstrom. This pick was acquired in the Mats Zuccarello trade. Tarnstrom was ranked as the #47 Euro skater by the NHL, up from #100 at the midterm rankings. The scouting report on Oliver Tarnstrom is a very skilled forward who needs time to mature and develop physically.
This season, the big winger put up 11-23-34 in 41 games with AIK in Sweden’s J20 league. He bypassed Sweden’s U18 league and went straight for the next level as a 17 year old. That’s impressive.
It’s worth noting that I am no draft expert. I did a lot of Googling and Youtubing. You should be checking out sites like Future Considerations, Elite Prospects, Dobber Hockey, and others on Twitter (@SternScouting, @aj_ranger, @ManUtdTobbe, and I’m sure I missed a bunch).
Tarnstrom has some high level offensive skills. His skating makes him difficult to match up against, and his hands match the feet. He makes good reads offensively and is seen as a play driver in the J20 league in Sweden.
From the highlights, you can see his breakaway speed and ability to read the defense and catch them flat footed. He is very good in the transition game, using his reads and speed to force turnovers. He’s a solid passer, which again helps him in the transition game. He also has a sneaky good shot, and can get it off quickly with power.
Defensively, Tarnstrom is a product of Sweden. He has an active stick in the defensive zone, which we see briefly on the second goal above. He does lack some physicality to his game, probably due to his weight. That’s something he will need to address if he expects to stick in Allsvenskan. Proper strength training and some natural maturity will help there.
Tarnstrom is a skilled pick, but also a project pick. At just 163 lbs, he will need to fill out, but that will happen naturally as he gets older. Playing in J20 now with some cuppas in Allsvenskan, the key to Tarnstrom’s future is improvement. The Rangers are going to want see him stick in Allsvenskan soon, and then eventually get to the SHL before signing him to an ELC.
At his ceiling, the Oliver Tarnstrom scouting report projects him out as a middle-six winger. That’s if he hits his ceiling. It was a swing for the fences for the Rangers, which is perfectly fine. He’s a well rounded player already with solid offensive skills. He just needs to build on his successful 17 year old season with a few more strong years in upper leagues.