Oliver Tarnstrom scouting report

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 ConsiderationsElite ProspectsDobber Hockey, and others on Twitter (@SternScouting,  @aj_ranger@ManUtdTobbe, and I’m sure I missed a bunch).

Scouting Report

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.

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  • Very young but projectable, one of the youngest in this year’s draft. Plays a premium position and is talented. All this youngster lacks is physical maturity. Like Dave said, a product of Swedish hockey which is fundamentally excellent. My very favorite day 2 pick.

    • Under the CBA, no way he gets offered after 4 years, just too skinny. It took his dad 7 years to make the NHL.

      He’s 25 lbs below where he needs to be even as an 18yr old. Beyond painfully thin. At least with Buchnevich (who was also painfully thin) there wasn’t a ticking clock.

      • Sports nutrition and training has come a long way since the 90’s when his father played. Plus you can’t compare talents and if we’re looking at physical stature his dad played at over 200 lbs.

        This kid may be a long shot but I love the potential. As a center iceman, IMO, this is a worthwhile gamble with a chance for a considerable payoff.

        • Again, he’s on the clock. If you want a long shot, draft him in the 4th or later.

          Sports nutrition and training have advanced, but it takes a loooong time to put weight on ectomorphs. It’s not like he hasn’t been weight training the entire time.

          The path is cups of coffee with the men’s side for 2 more years, then….? I’d write that he’d land with a weaker Allsvenskan side, but he’s already at one.

          • Obviously he’s a third round pick with the odds already stacked against him. But his profound youth, projectable height/size and obvious emerging talent at a premium position it surprises me that you are so negative with this pick.

          • NHLers are routinely found in the 3rd, reaching for players like this isn’t really a good use of assets. If they got Vierling in the 5th, they could’ve gotten him in the 7th. My model has him as a -17, which is never gets a dinner territory when a zero is a replacement level player at forward.

            I’m watching him right now and he’s not even strong enough on the puck in J20. At least he skates rather well backwards.

  • Only pick I didn’t like…with Zayde Wisdom, Brandon Coe, Zion Nybeck and Jaromir Pytlik, all on the board, Gorton let his European scouts, who love guys who can skate fast over take what was a very strong draft up until that point. If everything breaks right…this kid is at a minimum, 5-6 years away and by then…he will still only be 180 pounds. A swing for the fences pick that we always swing on and miss.

    • So, we should go with your assessment as someone who has seen this kids highlights solely on YouTube, as opposed to paid, highly skilled scouts, who have been watching him for years.
      Should I mention all of the stars in the NHL who are only 180lbs!!!

      • Shouldn’t go on my assessment but all of the major scouting site/writers had this kid going much later and with kids that are 2 or 3 years away as opposed to 5-6 years away…i would rather take a swing on those guys.

        This is who we potentially passed on:

        Wisdom’s game is reminiscent of Pat Verbeek

        Coe is making a case to crack the second round. His combination of size, skating and skill will make him hard to pass up as the draft moves on. If he manages to slip past the second round, he becomes one of the steals of the middle rounds.

        Nybeck brings it all as he’s a lethal offensive dynamo. He’s got tremendous speed, extremely crafty with the puck, an excellent passer and is relentless when pursuing the puck. At 5-foot-8, his size is his only drawback. Many overlook him because of this, but when the puck is on his stick, he’s always making something happen in the offensive zone.

        Pytlik is one of the more complete players in the draft. The fact he can play a solid, 200-foot game dependably puts his chances for success at the next level higher than some of his peers. While I don’t think he has the explosiveness to be a top-line player, you are getting a solid, two-way center that can do several things good. Teams love that kind of player.

        Ranked 47th amongst European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, I predict Tarnstrom will go right about where they have him ranked. He has great potential and I think a team will see that and take a chance on him. He will most likely be taken off the board in the fourth or fifth round.

        Those aren’t my feeble words…those are the words of scouts who have drafted these players.

        • So much hype with that Wisdom kid… NYR fans are going to hate this kid when he lights up someone like Chytil with his head down.. He’s already talking about bringing back the Broad street bullies with 2-3 other prospects who will likely join him very soon..

          Oh and Wayne Simmonds has schooled him into being tough since day 1.. I found out about him through article about Tom Wilson.

        • As someone who loved the pick of Tarnstrom, here is my take on him over the guys you mentioned:

          Wisdom – definitely has a higher floor, but I have not seen any scouting report that ranks his ceiling at anything above a 3C. While that sounds nice, it’s not hard to find (Chytil is already that, Barron and Henricksson are also projected in that range).

          Coe – not a center prospect. Plus again his ceiling is a middle-6 at best.

          Nybeck – also a wing, and again his ceiling seems to be middle-6 at best

          Pytlik – listed as a center, but have seen reports looking at him more on the wing due to less than elite skating ability. Even at that, most reports have him at no more than a 3C if he stays at that spot.

          These guys are all solid, safe picks. But when you have the kind of prospect pool the Rangers have, you can afford to take chances for an area of need. I have seen scouting reports saying Tarnstrom has 2C potential due his speed, passing ability and a better-than-average shot. That ceiling looks higher to me than the other players listed.

          Is it risky? Absolutely! But when you have a great system like the Rangers do, you have the luxury of big swings. Even if Tarnstrom is a flop, I love the fact the Rangers went for the guy with much more upside potential. It’s not like they passed on a guaranteed All-Star.

          And besides, they played it safe in Round 5 and took undervalued guys in Vierling and Berard. Best of both worlds!

          • Do the Rangers have more players like Tarnstrom or Wisdom in the system?

            Did they go with best available player approach there or did they go for biggest swing for the fences.

            We have a good pool with a lot of similar type of players…

      • These highly skilled scouts aren’t highly skilled or trained, they’ve just played and seen a lot of hockey.

        They also haven’t been watching him for years. They would’ve keen him at J18 camps at the most as nobody is actively scouting J18 beyond watching TV Pucken(which is even younger).

        You might get an agent whispering in a CHL GMs ear about a guy who is willing to come over, then they look; but nobody is beating the bushes in NA to follow a 15 year old in Europe.

        Which goes to a beef I have with how the scouting department is set up: they need more cross checkers, both at a regional, but national & continental level.

        My model can tell me who to go look at that might be below the radar, but I still go gotta see them live. If my scouts is hyping a guy to the moon, I still gotta have more eyes on him. If not me, a X-checker. Otherwise you might as well flip a coin to see if a player works out.

      • Nah, 190 lol … he can gain 20-25 pounds in 3 years, it’s easy nowadays … and who is to say that in 3 years the Rangers don’t sign him to a cheap ELC. I mean sure he’s a longshot, but let’s not exaggerate the negatives here.

        • The more of this game(vs Djurgardens) I watch, the less and less I like. Just doesn’t think the game fast, too weak to express any skill at evens, only occasionally takes faceoffs. An okay skater that will get better *if* he gets stronger.

          • I won’t sit here and debate what you’re saying regarding his skills, I haven’t seen enough of him in game to specifically speak to that with any authority … I debate you going on and on about a kid’s weight when he just turned 18. I’ve seen too many guys add plenty of weight/strength over the course of a few summers to know — if Tom Poti (and this has nothing to do with him not playing up to his potential) could go from from 6’3″ in the mid-170’s to 210+, most anyone can. The kid had more food allergies than the Rangers had bad draft picks over the last decade — I watched him an awful lot when he was at Cushing Academy.

          • Tom Poti has more skill in one skate than Tarnstrom’s whole body.

            The point isn’t whether he can put weight on; it’s that it’s such an issue, it was stupid to grab him at that point in the draft.

          • Well played, sit.

            25 lbs of functional strength is hard to do if you’re an ectomorph. Buch is 7 years in and finally broke 25lbs from his draft weight.

          • And Buch from 27-30 will put up more points than he did than his 3 best years with the Rangers, but this is why you model risk.

            Draft value should be solely predicated on what you think you get out of them during cost controlled seasons.

  • Wonder. Miller used to play forward. He has been play D and learning how to protect his zone. He’s big, fast, strong and athletic. The team has a glut of d prospects and a dearth of center prospects.

    Would it ever make sense to try and make Miller a center?

      • Explain? Yes, moving him to center is probably a dumb idea–was just wondering if that could ever work with Robertson, Lindgren, Jones, Reunanen and Rykov all lefties–if it might not be worth experimenting. Not criticizing–just curious what you saw that you see him as an ECHL’er as a forward.

        • Out of Hartford, not Maine.

          Look at the likes of Boo & Fogarty and you’ll know why a guy who gets moved back won’t work pushing him back up front. It’s a high bar to clear.

    • In the middle rounds, ALL of the picks are long shots. Might as well swing for the fences and hope.

      • If you actually had a development program, they’re not long shots.

        The CBA causes some problems for runway, but I routinely saw the Devils hit on late rounders and almost always turn middle picks into NHLers.

  • I’ll go out on a limb and predict that the Rangers will draft Kasper Lindstrom next year: undersized, underweight D whose uncle played in the NHL.

    • I’m curious, why is it that you root for the Rangers? Perhaps a team with a management team that thinks like you would be more to your liking. Just a thought.

      • Bah Joe. 😉 Reen his HYPER realistic and just errs on the side of the glass being half full with most players. It’s a tad pessimistic but based on some sound observation. It doesn’t have anything to do with rooting for a team.

      • JoeS.

        It’s because he is a professional scout, and is candid, versis some want to be GM’s who have to question him constantly!!!!!!! Try to take his input to arrive at an informed opinion……………

        • I get that Walt, but the Rangers have professional scouts who disagree with his opinion. Whatever though, I was just curious as to why he rooted for a team diametrically opposed to his point of view. Who said my opinion was not informed by the way?

          • Pro scouts stay hired because the file their reports, but hardly give opinions outside of their silo.

            It’s a go along to get along environment.

            I was working in Phoenix for the Kings farm team and our goalies sucked. They brought in Andre Racicot because he had a had a name. I just uttered “Red Light” Racicot and the GM heard it; got cussed out while at the same time being asked who I thought was better. At the time, the Caps had 2 quality goalies in the minors, so I told Keller to get the one that Washington thought needed more rubber.

            They got Byron DaFoe, I got the door.

          • Joe

            I never said you aren’t informed, and that was directed at someone else………………..Do you play the role of a GM want to be?? Then you’ll figure out who I mean………

        • I’m not a pro scout, I just have money and weird hobbies. When I was with the Devils, I would road trip on off nights on the weekend and watch Albany play when they were close and file reports for Max McNab, who was counting the days to retirement as an executive VP of nothing at the time. Lovely guy, guess that’s why McMullen kept him on board even though he didn’t really have a role.

      • Why am I a Rangers fan?

        The Staten Island Product.
        Jim Gordon & Bill Chadwick.
        The fishin magician.
        Troy Mallette
        The Cup.

        Why I’m a season ticket holder?
        See above.
        Even though I still know how the biz works, I can still be a mark. But I can afford it at this point.

        I want all these guys to make it, but most of them won’t.

        As a season ticket holder, I’d like my money spent in a more efficient manner, calling them on it is my prerogative.

        If you have a problem with that, get your thumbs down ready, because IDGAF.

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