Published: June 29, 2013
Gustav Olofsson's journey to the NHL draft had plenty of stops along the way.
Fortunately for Tiger fans, the next is Colorado College.
The incoming freshman defenseman is one of two future Tigers likely to be picked during Sunday's draft in New Jersey.
"That is the easy part," the native of Ume? Sweden, said from his home in Broomfield. "The real hard work comes after. I need to work for an opportunity in whatever organization picks me."
Many draft prognosticators predict Olofsson going in the second or third round while 2014 defenseman commit Teemu Kivihalme may go in the later rounds. The 5-foot-11, 165-pounder, who is named after NHL star Teemu Selanne, is tabbed as the No. 64 North American skater by the latest NHL Central Scouting rankings.
Kivihalme, who has dual citizenship with Finland and the USA, competed at the 2012 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka tournament for the Americans, led Burnsville to a Minnesota high school section final and played for the Fargo Force of the U.S. Hockey League.
Olofsson is rated 51st for good reason.
"In Goose's case it's the whole package," said CC assistant Joe Bonnett, who cannot comment on the unsigned Kivihalme per NCAA rules. "He (Olofsson) is a very intelligent player. He has big-time skating ability."
At 18, the USHL all-rookie team honoree (23 points, 21 assists) and the junior league's NHL Prospects Game invitee showed offensive upside and good anticipation, which made him attractive to the Tigers. CC looks for defensemen who can start the transition into the offense and contribute once the puck is in the opponent's zone.
"His (Bonnett's) philosophy on defense is outstanding," Olofsson said. "He knows how to develop defensemen who can play an up-tempo game and are forced to defend harder on the big sheet."
The move to Colorado three years ago came at the perfect time for Gustav and his younger brother Fredrick, a 2014 or 2015 CC left wing commit. The family moved to northern California because of his father's auditing job when Gustav was a second-grader. Both benefited from their three years there, including time in the San Jose Jr. Sharks.
"We moved with my father's job each time and it worked out well for my development," said Gustav, the son of H?an and Ulrika. "The northern California associations do a good job developing younger players. Once we moved to Colorado we fell in love with the mountains and scenery. With a chance at a good education, it (CC) seemed like a great fit for us."
After San Jose, where Gustav became a Sharks fan, his family moved to Sweden where he progressed further. Swedish player development focuses on individual skills versus situational drills.
"That focus on stick handling proved very helpful in my development," he said.
His USHL stint proved he can play the North American style. The 6-foot-2, 189-pounder hopes to benefit from CC's weight-training program.
Olofsson is looking forward to playing with Fredrick, who was second in scoring (69 points) on the U16 Colorado Thunderbirds last season.
"It's huge," Gustav said. "We have been close friends for years so it is something we really want to do. We're very competitive with each other, which makes us both better on the ice. We're both excited."