By: Mark Whitfield | Follow me on Twitter @olop86
In the final part of BNG’s look at the Bruins prospects playing overseas, we look at Dans Ločmelis. The 18-year-old Latvian was taken in the 4th round of the 2022 NHL entry and oozes potential. While it is too early to be sure of how he will turn out, from what I have seen, it seems that we have saved the best until last.
Ločmelis is currently playing his trade in the Swedish J20 league, having played for Luleå HF from the U16 level all the way up to SHL. He has one season left before he heads over to North America to play for Northern Michigan University.
At just 18-years-old, he has demonstrated the ability to produce at every level. Last year, as a U18 eligible player, Ločmelis scored 34 points in 44 games while playing for Luleå’s U20 team. He has continued that form this season, scoring four goals and two assists in four games so far.
Physically, Ločmelis is not the biggest; six feet tall and 170 pounds. At this stage, that shouldn’t be a concern as he is still young and so has plenty of time to develop physically. It’s also fair to say that this hasn’t been a problem in his career. He has consistently played above his age range and can score points despite his lack of size.
In terms of skill, there is a lot to like about this kid. He is fast enough to play a 200ft game; he can move the puck around to create chances and gets himself in places where he can put the puck in the net. Watch the video above; you can see how he doesn’t stop after making the breakout pass. He had the speed to keep up with the play, the vision to get himself into a scoring position, and the patience to wait for the puck to come to him.
Some scouting reports have been relatively low on Ločmelis, which given what I have seen of him, seems unfair. I don’t think you can have the kind of production he has had unless you have a fair amount of skill. Of course, he still has a long way to go until he is NHL-ready, but he is well placed to make that happen. He has shown an apparent ability to utilize his skillset to put points on the board. He is in a program with a proven track record of developing talent; Victor Berglund and Fabian Lysell have both spent time on the Luleå team. He has one season left in Sweden before he makes the transition to North America, a move that will only aid his development.
The previous articles ended with an optimistic view of how the Bruins’ European prospects could form part of the organization’s future. Both of the previous players discussed have an uphill struggle to get into the league, they are a bit older, and their route in is less clear.
Ločmelis is in a far stronger position; his production hasn’t slackened as he moved up age groups, he is in a program that has already produced for the Bruins, and he has a clear route into the North American game. All of these give him the best possible chance of making it to “The Show.” I wouldn’t go as far as saying he is the next Bergeron or Pastrnak, but I’m confident that we will see his name on the back of a B’s jersey in a few years.