18-year-old center from Djurgårdens IF is the newest member of the Sabres organization.
Östlund, 18, split last season between Djurgårdens at three levels. He spent most of the year with the J20 team, where he recorded 33 assists and added nine goals for 42 points in 32 regular-season games and added seven points (5-2) in five playoff games.
He also appeared in eleven games in the SHL with Djurgårdens but didn’t record any points. In one regular-season game at the J18 level, he recorded two assists and added seven points (2-5) in four playoff games.
Östlund also skated in 15 games with the Swedish U18 team, including serving as an alternate captain at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. HE finished the tournament tied for third in scoring, with 10 points in six games.
Among the skills he’s been noted for: puck handling, passing, speed and offensive read.
Here’s what EliteProspects has to say about him:
“At his best, Östlund is a dynamic, shifty playmaker who takes full advantage of the width of the ice to build passing sequences. A dextrous distributor with the full array of reach- adjusted passes and the keen eye to find options through traffic, he was the most prolific setup-man in the entire Swedish junior circuit.” -EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide
DBTB writer Austin had him going 15th overall to Vancouver in his final mock draft. Earlier, here’s what he had to say about the center:
“Of the Djurgarden trio he’s the most likely to fall to the Sabres. A deceptive playmaker who can control the neutral zone with the puck on his stick; Ostlund is the type of home run swing I’m hoping to make with the second first round pick.”
Getting a few Noah Östlund games in.
I love the decision making in this clip against AIK. He knows that he has attackers looking to put pressure on him, so he pivots on a dime to shake off the pressure and then passes to an open teammate. Smart transitional play.#2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/TEj2w1R7ci
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) April 30, 2022
Here’s a more in-depth look at Östlund:
Östlund’s rankings were a pretty wide range. While Smaht Scouting had him the highest at #10, NHL Central Scouting put him #18 among European skaters. EliteProspects had him #27, while DobberProspects had him #17.
The 5’11”, 163-pound forward told reporters on scene in Montreal that he’s comfortable playing center or wing. He’s played his entire career in Sweden up to this point.
Here’s a few highlights via the Sabres:
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) July 8, 2022
Finally, here’s some thoughts from The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler:
“Östlund’s calling card is his airy, agile skating stride, excellent hands, cleverness, and two-way ability. The skating and defensive aptitude (including on faceoffs) make him an able penalty killer and the rest give him clear tools of creation at five-on-five and on the power play. He wins a ton of short races, creates quickly as soon as he’s in possession, and darts around the ice in control to get into scoring areas or facilitate from the perimeter. His lack of size and strength are definitely going to be impediments as he progresses up levels, but he’s got the benefit of time, his skating, and the fondness coaches have for him to fall back on.
He’s silky smooth in possession (grades out at the very top of the draft in that regard), which makes him one of the very best puck transporters through neutral ice in the draft. There’s some risk that comes with selecting him but he’s got a slippery quality that few players in this range have, the puck just sticks to him in tight coverage, and he is a catalyst on his line in a variety of ways.”
Among the attributes he’s been noted for: his hockey sense, playmaking ability and stickhandling. He’s currently signed with Djurgårdens through the 2023-2024 season.