VANCOUVER, BC, November 23, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/
-- "My New Goalie has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R..."
"My new goalie has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R..." Don't be surprised if you overhear an NHL GM singing this song to himself in a Pittsburgh hotel lobby in June 2012. Ok, it's pretty corny, so you probably won't actually hear anyone signing it, but come draft day, there will be a GM who will be feeling as happy as a kid with a hot dog. After all, he will have just selected a goalie named Oscar with his team's first round pick.
Oscar Dansk is currently the highest ranked goalie in the upcoming draft. The 17 year old invariably draws comparisons from NHL scouts to fellow Swede Henkrik Lundqvist, and for good reason. Dansk, at 6'2, 187 lb, matches Lundqvist well in terms of stature, but the comparisons also continue in the way each plays the game. Both adhere to a highly technical style, deep in their net, big shoulders square to the shooter and ready to kick out a pad to cover the only obvious shooting targets in the low corners. Whereas Lundqvist's evolution after being selected in the 7th round surprised many, Dansk is trending much higher at this point in his career. If Dansk can match or exceed the kind of success Lundqvist has had in the NHL (NHL all-rookie team, Olympic Gold medal, Vezina Trophy nomination), his future GM will have a dominant franchise goalie at his disposal.
Dansk has already offered a tantalizing preview of what may be in store. He recently took on some of the world's best junior players at the World Junior 'A' Challenge in Langley, BC. Dansk kicked off the tournament by brushing aside 44 shots, including 4 clear-cut breakaway saves, on route to a 1-0 upset over tournament favourites USA. After the game, Dansk was dismissive of the performance, characterizing it as routine.
"I've had a few (like that) but when you're on your game, that happens."
(Post-game interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-Y3wGot05I
His performance quickly became the topic of conversation amongst NHL scouts and members of the media at the tournament. When asked how his team would beat Dansk, Team Canada West head coach Kent Lewis quipped "lock him in his hotel room."
Team Canada West probably wishes they had stuck with that game plan, instead relying on beating Dansk and the Swedes by the narrowest of margins on the ice. It took 24 shots and the overtime heroics of Alex Kerfoot, who bested Dansk on a breakaway, in order to dismiss the Swedes 2-1.
Having improved his draft stock, Dansk is now back home in Sweden with Brynas J-20 of the SuperElit. The future looks bright for the young goaltender, and that's no baloney.
Article by: Brendan Munro - Business and Sports writer who occasionally contributes to The Vancouver Observer, Hockey Now, Inside Hockey, The Cricketer and Small Business BC.
Brendan can be reached via Twitter @brendanmunro or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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