With the NHL offseason officially starting this week following the Vegas Golden Knights Stanley Cup victory on Monday. Colorado got into the trade fray quickly in acquiring seldom used depth left wing Fredrik Olofsson from the Dallas Stars for Future Considerations on Thursday.
Olofsson was set to become an unrestricted free agent, and agreed to a one year contract with the Colorado Avalanche following the trade. Surprisingly the deal is of the two-way variety after playing the year on a one-way contract in Dallas.
Prior to his NHL debut in Dallas last season, the Swedish winger put up .72 points per game over three seasons in the SHL after starring for the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the NCAA. He split time between the AHL and NHL in his only pro season in North America and hasn’t brought that scoring touch with him putting up only 14 points in the AHL and four (including his first NHL goal) with the Stars. Oloffson’s game is still very much at the tweener stage at this level but there’s still potential he can establish himself as a NHL regular moving forward.
At 6’2, 200 lbs, the Avs new winger profiles as a big body with speed on the forecheck and a defensively responsible game despite a lack of scoring punch, kind of like another Stars reclamation project from several years back - Valeri Nichushkin. Of course, Olofsson doesn’t have the draft pedigree (he was a fourth round pick by Chicago in 2014) or scoring track record (hasn’t put up over a point per game since his draft year) that Nuke had before his struggles in Dallas, but there is one clear parallel that the Avs front office is always looking for — his metrics are awesome.
Though mostly used as an extra forward in his one NHL season in Dallas, Olofsson put up great underlying numbers in his appearances and scored at a higher rate than the Stars’ other, more frequently used fourth liners. Per Tyler Mair at Defending Big D:
“Where Olofsson does stand out a bit from the crowd, however, is his possession stats. His CF% and FF% were second on the team behind only Hart Trophy candidate Jason Robertson, and that’s with 62.6% of his faceoffs taking place in the defensive zone. His two playoff games are a ridiculously small sample size, but he posted even better numbers then.”
Those two playoff games were Dallas’ only two victories over eventual Cup Champ Vegas, so Olofsson might be the key to beating the Golden Knights next year.
He’s likely get an opportunity to slot in to the Avs bottom six as the team restocks its NHL depth with younger, more offensively capable forwards.