When the Avalanche drafted Oskar Olausson 28th overall in the most recent NHL draft, the expectation, as is the case for any late first-rounder, is that he’d be more of a project, and would likely take three to five years to see NHL ice.
And that’s likely still the expectation, however, the Swedish-born winger is already turning heads and drawing big-name comparisons just a couple of weeks into his first NHL training camp and preseason.
“I’m really impressed with Olausson. I remember when I saw Mikko for the first time a few years ago you could just see he was going to be a player, and I kind of get the same vibe from Olli,” veteran Erik Johnson said following the Avs second pre-season contest of the 2021 exhibition.
Now, hold your horses there, Erik; that’s some high praise. While the veteran of over 800 NHL games is already lauding over the young Olausson, EJ is also very realistic in his expectations. When Rantanen was drafted by the Avalanche, he was already a hulking 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, while Olausson comes in at 6-foot-1, 180.
“He’s probably got to put a little size on and get a little stronger,” admitted Johnson. “But the NHL skillset is there, the shots there, the hockey sense—the things you can’t teach—are there. He might take a little bit longer, but he’s going to be a player.”