June 5, 2023

Ensanta Catalina

Aventure et nature

Ohgren reflects on ‘surreal’ journey to becoming Wild prospect

ST. PAUL, Minn. — For Liam Ohgren, the past two weeks have been a whirlwind.

The Minnesota Wild forward prospect took part in his first pro development camp after the 18-year-old was selected with the No. 19 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

“It’s been amazing,” Ohgren said. “Coming to Montreal, it’s an amazing city that loves hockey and then get drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the first round, it’s been a dream for me my whole life. To have accomplished that is surreal. And then to come here and just train with all the guys here and get to noticed and stuff, it’s been unreal.”

Ohgren was named best forward after playing for Djurgarden’s team in Sweden’s junior league, where he had 58 points (33 goals, 25 assists) in 30 games last season. He was promoted to Djurgarden of the Swedish Hockey League and had two points (one goal, one assist) in 25 games.

Video: Ohgren on being drafted by Wild

Though Ohgren’s skill and achievements are enough to boost any player’s confidence, he said he was filled with nerves throughout the three-day camp. That apparently went unnoticed by Minnesota, which signed him to a three-year, entry level contract July 16.

“I wouldn’t be nervous if I was him,” Wild director of player development Brad Bombardir said. “He’s a poised kid. He skates really well, handles a puck really well and he’s competitive. He’s going to be a fun, fun one to watch. It’s going to be exciting to see his growth over even just the next year. 

“He looks good out there. If he’s nervous, I don’t know what he’s going to look like when he’s not nervous, so we’re very pleased with him.” 

Ohgren plans to return to Sweden for the offseason to continue and strengthen his skating and puck-carrying ability. He has a reserved roster spot at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton from Aug. 9-20, but right now his plans are not to attend. 

Instead, it’s likely the 6-foot, 187-pound Stockholm native will return for at least one more season with Djurgarden, which will play in Allsvenskan, the second-highest professional league in Sweden.

“It’s all been a lot of take in and I’m hoping I can be more relaxed when I come here next time,” Ohgren said. “I’m just going to continue to try and work on my strengths and improve in all areas.”