Second City Hockey’s 2020-21 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2020. The rankings are determined by a composite score from three SCH writers and community member, L_B_R. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. All four ballots will be released after the series is completed.
Niklas Nordgren didn’t see as much success in 2019-20 as the season before. Two years removed from his draft year, Nordgren has continued to find himself in the Jr. A SM-Liiga, the Finnish developmental league. His goal production was half of what it was from the 2018-19 season (in three more games) but his assist total went up.
Nordgren also saw time in Liiga, Finland’s top division, but saw his production go down there as well. He dealt with several injuries that kept him out for months before returning in late November 2019. He only played in 11 Liiga games before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and he was injured again in early October this year prior to being able to play a league game.
When he does find his way back to the ice in 2020-21, he could have higher hopes of production with more time to heal.
Nordgren finds his way to dangerous areas despite his size and doesn’t take many penalties, with zero in 11 Liiga games and 10 in 16 junior games. His game could transition well to North America, but he’ll need to show increased production this season to draw a contract.
Nordgren has been passed by multiple players on this list because of his injuries, but if he can stay healthy and get back on track he could still be a talented player.
The Blackhawks have yet to sign Nordgren and he’ll remain in Finland until next year’s prospect camp, if it happens. He will likely spend the majority of the season with HIFK in the Liiga but could also play games with HIFK U20.