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Hagg used surprise WJC spot to showcase skills

Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 9:37 AM CT / 2014 NHL DRAFT CENTRAL
By Adam Kimelman  - Deputy Managing Editor
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Hagg used surprise WJC spot to showcase skills
Robert Hagg was a late addition to Sweden\'s team for the World Junior Championship, but that surprise addition served as a springboard up the draft rankings and could result in Hagg being a first-round pick at the 2013 NHL Draft.

Robert Hagg wasn't part of Sweden's plan for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. He ended up becoming one of their most important players, and at the same time thrust himself into consideration for teams picking early in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Hagg, a 6-foot-2.25, 204-pound defenseman, had 24 points in 28 games with Modo's junior team, but also played 27 games with the elite-league team.

"I started the season with Modo's under-20 team," Hagg told "I played games with them and I practiced with the big club. After a month or two, they called me up and told me I was going to play my first game for them.

"We met Farjestad in the home arena. My hand was just shaking."

He came through that game OK, but had just one assist and a minus-3 rating in the elite league.

However, scouts certainly took note, and NHL Central Scouting placed him eighth in its final ranking of European skaters for this year's draft.

"His attitude … I think he's very self-confident," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told "He's a great skater, moves extremely well."

Hagg's greatest impact this season came at the World Juniors. He was the last player added to the roster, when a Sweden team already missing injured defensemen Jonas Brodin, Oscar Klefbom and Hampus Lindholm lost Jesper Pettersson in a pre-tournament exhibition game in late December.

The call from the Swedish hockey federation didn't leave Hagg with much time to pack.

"It was just go," he said. "I take the airplane the morning after [a game] and I went [home] to get my bag and back to the airport."

He landed in Ufa, Russia for the tournament and immediately was thrust into the lineup. He had a goal and an assist in five games, and was one of the steadier performers for the team as it reached the championship game. Against the United States in the gold-medal game, Hagg was second on the team with four shots on goal, and took home a silver medal after a 3-1 loss.

"I've never had so much fun as I had there," Hagg said. "All the teammates, going to the games, everything like that."

While some might have been surprised by Hagg's performance, he said he was confident of what he could do if given the chance.

"I knew if I played like I should, I should be one of the best defenders on that team," he said.

Scouts certainly took notice and followed him more closely the rest of the season. It's part of the reason he was a popular player for NHL teams to speak with during the Scouting Combine.

"I showed them what I could do," he said of the WJC. "Showed my skills to them. It was a good opportunity."

Hagg said some of those skills were honed on the family's backyard rink in Uppsala, Sweden, where he would have battles with his older brother, Christian, a forward who played with Vasteras in Sweden's Allsvenskan last season.

He said there were plenty of fights for their parents to break up, but the brothers get along fine now. And the benefits of those games have furthered his development.

"We had the backyard rink and we'd shoot, and because of that I have a pretty good shot," Hagg said.

He plans on taking that shot to the NHL eventually. He doesn't think he's ready yet -- he has one more year left on his contract with Modo -- and believes he needs more time in the Swedish Elite League to further develop his skills.

"I would take a year or two in the Swedish leagues and we'll see what's happening," he said.

He will, though, be on hand at Prudential Center on June 30 to hear his name called. After attending last year's draft in Pittsburgh with his agent and fellow top 2013 Swedish draft prospect Jacob de la Rose, he's eager to be more than just a spectator this year.

"I talked with Craig Oster, my agent, and he said maybe I'd go between 15 and 45," Hagg said. "He doesn't really know. It's going to be a surprise when they call my name."

Won't be the first time Hagg provides a surprise this year.

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Author: Adam Kimelman | Deputy Managing Editor

  • Round One - Nikolaj Ehlers - RW - (9th Pick)
  • Round Two - None (Traded to MN)
  • Round Three - Jack Glover - D - (69th Pick)
  • Round Four - Chase De Leo - C - (99th Pick)
  • Round Four - Nelson Nogier - D - (101st Pick)
  • Round Five - C.J. Franklin - F - (129th Pick)
  • Round Six - Pavel Kraskovsky - C - (164th Pick)
  • Round Seven - Matt Ustaski - F - (192nd Pick)




1 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
2 ANA 75 46 22 7 219 211 99
3 NSH 74 45 21 8 211 178 98
4 CHI 73 44 23 6 207 167 94
5 MIN 74 42 25 7 211 183 91
6 VAN 73 43 26 4 211 195 90
7 WPG 74 38 24 12 207 195 88
8 CGY 74 40 27 7 217 195 87
9 LAK 73 36 23 14 196 182 86
10 DAL 74 36 28 10 232 236 82
11 SJS 73 35 30 8 201 206 78
12 COL 73 33 28 12 196 205 78
13 EDM 74 21 40 13 177 254 55
14 ARI 74 22 44 8 154 246 52


A. Ladd 74 24 34 10 58
B. Wheeler 72 23 34 24 57
B. Little 65 24 27 10 51
M. Scheifele 74 13 31 10 44
D. Byfuglien 65 15 27 6 42
M. Frolik 74 17 22 3 39
D. Stafford 68 16 23 -14 39
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
J. Tlusty 64 14 14 -20 28
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O. Pavelec 18 14 7 .917 2.36
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