Manor 2024 NHL Draft Preview: Defenseman Stian Solberg, Norway

LGKbot

They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
Staff member
559533.jpeg


With Kings management just getting started on most of their summer action items — and the majority of them having somewhat fluid timelines — at least one event has a definitive deadline quickly approaching, the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

Several of our recent preview articles have touched upon players with unusual backgrounds, including Michael Brandsegg-Nygard from Norway. Next up, we’ll take a look at one of his countryman and evaluate potential interest from the Kings side and if taking a chance on him with a high pick makes any sense.

Stian Solberg

Vitals


Date of Birth: December 29, 2005
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 201 lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: Defense

2023-24 Season

Solberg spent the entirety of the season playing in multiple leagues. Over 42 games total, he produced 15 points (5 G, 10 A) in Norway’s top league.

Norway Out

The native of Oslo appears to be venturing beyond his home country for the upcoming 2024-25 season. He was taken by Regina in the 2023 CHL Import Draft, which gives non-North Americans a door to play in either the WHL, OHL, or QMJHL.

However, it would appear he has a two-year contract to play for Färjestad BK of the SHL.

Last Chance at Restoration

Like the aforementioned Brandsegg-Nygard above, Solberg represented Norway in the 2024 U20 World Junior Championship. Unfortunately, a loss to Germany in the relegation round finds team Norway back in Division 1A. Because Solberg was born in 2005, this year will be the final year in which he can help Norway get promoted back up to the top level.

Assertion Among Adults

Despite being a teenager in a league filled with older and more experienced peers, Solberg wasn’t one who backed down. The rugged blueliner was top 20 in the league in penalty minutes and fifth on his team.

Rankings by Independent Scouting Services

Ranked No 44 by Future Considerations. A subsequent article wrote, “Solberg is a very dependable, physical two-way defender that plays all situations, has a rock solid possession game, and is extremely consistent. He is very active at both ends of the ice, often being a very noticeable player compared to other shutdown defenders in this class. His physical game and defensive positioning are two main things that I love.”

Ranked No 21 by Recruit Scouting. “Stian Solberg is a name that has been thrown around a fair amount this season and for good reason. The kid hits like a truck. He owns a big frame and a lot of muscle and loves to use it and that’s how he started to be on everyone’s radar. His draft has rose significantly with his performance in the recent World Juniors, although Norway would eventually get relegated in a gutting 5-4 overtime loss against the Germans.”

Ranked No. 30 by Hockey Prospect. One of their reports remarked, “He played for over 20 minutes in a friendly game against Denmark’s national team in France. I was impressed by his high energy level, which was intense but not overly physical.”

See For Yourself

Here is a video of Stian Solberg playing against Switzerland in the 2024 WJC:


Final Comments

Solberg combines the throwback qualities of a physical defenseman with modern blueliners who like to contribute offense. He simply eats minutes, often playing over 20 minutes a night, which lends to opportunity in both facets. Coming from Norway, he doesn’t have many peers who command these chances at home. Seeing how he adjusts to the SHL next season will be an interesting follow for whomever drafts him, but how well would one expect him to adapt?
There is a saying with unknown origin: “Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.” This embodies Solberg’s approach in the defensive zone.

The 6-foot-2 defender uses his size quite well, willingly punishing the opposition who enters his realm of influence. Unfortunately, he has shown moments of overcommitting or taking himself out of the play while trying to lay the body. This isn’t a disqualifier, of course – learning and improving their decision-making is a core piece of what makes someone a prospect. If he can learn to apply physicality more effectively without reining in the aggression, the opposition will be much more black and blue by the time they return to the bench.

The defenseman moves the puck better than he carries it. His passes find their target, although trying to carry the puck against opposition is when he finds himself in trouble. The punishing blueliner doesn’t have flashy skills where he can skate or deke himself to safety. Consequently, in transition, he’s better suited to join in than to lead it; otherwise, his breakout passes will do the job.

In the offensive zone, his approach isn’t too different from the transition. Wrist shots are the weapon of choice. There’s a loss of power but it has the benefit of getting on net more consistently. While he’s not shooting bullets, it at least forces the goalie to make a save. Sometimes, what may look like a wrister ends up being a pass to a teammate, and this is the extent of Solberg’s deception. He’s reliable, though could benefit from adding tools before expecting a powerplay quarterback. There won’t be head fakes, spin-o-ramas, fancy stick handles, or even walking the line to change the point of attack.

In summation – Solberg is a gritty and unflashy blueliner. He’s committed to the SHL, and Sweden develops plenty of NHL talent. The defender would benefit either from narrowing the scope of his role to defense or finding a healthy compromise to add to his skillset where he can be more lethal out of the defensive zone. He has great endurance to eat minutes, and a better definition of his role will lead a lot more success than simply playing him everywhere.

Most scouting services have Solberg ranked lower than 21st, where the Kings are picking. Without a second or third round pick at the time of this writing, the general consensus suggests he could be available later. Rob Blake and company may want to consider a trade which would give them an earlier pick than their next (118th overall).

Chat with David: You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.




googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-522840723937225840-1’); });



RELATED CONTENT:



Follow @mayorNHL

Instagram

Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com



Comments

Continue reading...
 

Now Chirping

  • No one is chatting at the moment.
Back
Top