If there is one area of the world where the New Jersey Devils have scouted very well recently, it's Sweden. First round picks Niclas Bergfors, Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson all have made it to the NHL level, and later picks like Alexander Urbom don't seem to be that far behind them. The Swedish leagues, especially the Swedish Elite League, provides some excellent prospects for NHL teams to choose from and it's likely that two of the top ten picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft will be from Sweden (Mika Zibanejad and Adam Larsson) with a few others likely to be selected within the first round. (Don't forget Gabriel Landeskog who did play briefly in the SEL)
There are a few advantages to drafting a player from overseas. He doesn't count against your team's 50 person contract maximum, he gets to play against tough competition while he develops and he can come over to North America whenever both he and the team feel ready. Plus, from a New Jersey Devils perspective they have a strong core of Swedish players that make the acclimation process much easier for a player, an important point for a player leaving his home of 18 or 19 years to move to a new country by himself.
Besides the top picks there will also be a number of players drafted from the Swedish leagues that didn't necessarily play in the SEL, but played in one of their feeder leagues that should have an impact in the NHL in a few years. The In Lou We Trust prospect profile today focuses on Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall, a left wing from the Swedish Elite Leagues.
Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall Career Statistics:
Who Is Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall?
Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall is a 6'0", 170 pound left wing from the Swedish Elite League team of Timra. Ranked the #14 European skater by Central Scouting in both their mid-term and final rankings, Boyce scored 1 goal and 3 points in 33 games in the Elite League. Prodigious scoring? No, but when we look at his stats from the Elite League we must remember the level of competition he is playing against. It's also important to note that Boyce was born in August of 1993, leaving him as one of the younger draft eligible prospects.
Looking through the stats at Timra last year via the Elite League website Boyce also added 12 shots on goal, was a minus 3, while averaging 5:33 of ice time per game. He is listed as a center on the Timra website.
Boyce was recently loaned to Sunsvall for the 2011-2012 season. Sunsvall is a team that plays in the second highest league in Sweden, the Allsvenskan, to seemingly get more playing time and then hopefully rejoin Timra later in the season.
Keep in mind his age and the league age level when looking at his progress above. 15 goals and 30 points doesn't jump out at you but he was playing in a league that was for players under 20 years old. Similarly in 2009-2010 he scored 11 goals and 27 points in 22 games for the Timra's under 18 team, while he was 16 for most of the playing year. During this time he has played on all the major Swedish national teams and probably had his best play at the most recent tournament. Boyce's play at the U-18 tournament in Germany seems to have ignited the interest in him as a prospect. With 4 goals, 6 points and a plus 6 rating Boyce (despite his pedestrian ranking by the CSS) is now looked at as a potential late second round pick in the NHL draft.
Boyce and fellow countryman Jonas Brodin are interviewed here by Hockey's Future. You learn a little bit about Boyce's thoughts on the pressure of scouts watching him and the origins of his unconventional name.
What Experts Have Said About Boyce
The book on the 17-year-old who split the season between Timrå's J20 and Eliteserien (pro) team is that he's an excellent skater with sudden acceleration and lateral agility to spare. He has the pure speed to back defenders up and loves to fire the puck in full gallop. He had 15 goals and 30 points in 31 junior games before going up to the senior team, where he played in 33 contests, scoring a very modest (and typical for so young a player) 1 goal and 4 points. He's got a good shot and release and shows a pretty good touch on the puck for passiing. Boyce-Rotevall may lack the pure offensive instincts and creativity to be a big point producer, but with his excellent feet and good hands, he's got a chance to be a top-nine forward at the NHL with some upside to be a second-liner. His two-way play has been inconsistent, but not for a lack of understanding. He just needs to be a little more consistent and raise his compete level a bit.
Luedeke points out what was emphasized above and that is that the lack of scoring in the Elite League by Boyce should not be a knock. This is similar to the career paths of fellow countrymen Josefson and Tedenby, especially when he is at the younger end of his draft class. With a combination of top speed and a good touch for passing, Boyce seems like a good fit for a second line or third line role in North America. He seems like someone who could probably play on a top line for a few shifts just to create some opportunities with his speed.
Here’s a guy that is definitely going to get some recognition after the Under 18’s, where he had a bit of a coming out party on the biggest scouting platform of his season. Boyce can flat out fly and uses his speed as the centrefold to his game. Despite being pretty wiry and a fairly raw talent overall, he’s still got an attractive package of offensive tools that will surely improve as he mature physically and mentally. He’s a bit of a project, but a few more seasons in Sweden should help him refine his skills.
It's not surprising that the U-18 tournament helped Boyce's stock rise. His four goals tied him for second overall on Team Sweden with Mika Zibanejad who had a steller shooting percentage of 23.2%!
Another article by Kirk Luedeke discussing the U-18 tournament further supports the opinion that Boyce's stock rose at the tournament.
Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall, F- Rotevall has arguably been Sweden's most opportunistic scorer, with three goals in four games, but hitting on an impressive 27.7 shooting percentage. He's been deceptive, a lot like Reid Boucher in that he doesn't jump out at you every time he's on the ice, but will then cruise into the prime scoring areas and bury one. He doesn't have the flash and dash of Zibanejad, but we think this forward is underrated and could in time develop as a nice NHL option as a player who isn't likely to be a high pick but has the talent and upside to make an impact eventually.
51. Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall, Left Wing, Timra-SEL
Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall can sometimes get lost in the discussion amongst the top forwards coming out of Sweden, but in international play he's lined up right alongside Victor Rask and Mika Zibanejad and didn't look out of place. He's an average to solid-average skater, who accelerates well and moves his legs very quickly. Jeremy's puck skills are decent—I haven't seen him show any stickhandling prowess, but he's a fine passer and I have at times seen him flash above-average distribution skills. His shot mechanics are solid, he gets the puck into shooting position very quickly and I've seen above-average finishing ability from him. His physical game at the moment is fringe, but it projects as average when he's done growing. Boyce-Rotevall is an August '93 birthdate, so being behind in the growth department isn't abnormal. His work ethic towards the physical game is solid, consistently going to the front of the net on power plays, working hard in the cycle game and showing a little edge here and there. His work ethic translates to his defensive game, where he really hustles on the backcheck. Boyce-Rotevall doesn't really stand out in any fashion of the game, but has enough tools that can or do reach pro-average that he could be a decent prospect.
"Hustles on the backcheck". This phrasing alone makes me certain the Devils have looked at Boyce as a possibility in the later rounds. While to Pronman he doesn't stand out in any one area that isn't necessarily a bad thing when looking at a potential draftee. To me, it means he has potential in many areas and isn't a one-trick pony. Again, his late birthday is something to remember when one of the concerns or knocks on a player is his size/physical play.
From Luedeke, Pronman, and the Scouting Report we can conclude that Boyce has great speed, needs to mature physically a bit, but has the work ethic, instincts and is proficient enough in other areas to be a professional player in North America. Will he go in the late second round? Early third? With a European prospect like Boyce, teams are probably questioning his physical play the most and that will be the deciding factor on where he will be drafted on June 25th.
I like the fact that Boyce has the late 1993 birthday and that he does a number of things well. When you are looking at a player in the mid-rounds of a draft, having a well-rounded skill set is key to getting the most out of those picks. Drafting a potential quality third line player (who can probably spot play some time on the second line) is hard to do. If it was easy teams wouldn't have such expansive scouting staffs and spend so much time focusing on the draft.
Should the Devils select Boyce? If he is available, he better be on their radar. Considering that the Devils second selection in the draft is pick #74, Boyce should be picked immediately if he slips that low. David Conte should run to the podium with that card. That said, it seems unlikely that Boyce slips that low. Unless the Devils are willing to part with another asset to move up and acquire a pick in the 50-60 overall range of picks it's likely they won't be able to choose Boyce in the draft.
Now that you've read all of this information on Boyce, I want to know what you think of him as a prospect. Do you want the Devils to pick him in the third round of the draft if he is available? Would you want the Devils to try and trade into the second round to pick him? Did you see Boyce play or know of any other good scouting reports on him? If so, then please share them in the comments. Thanks for reading and sound off below!