This week on Prospect Watch, we’re heading to Kalamazoo, where the Wings of the ECHL currently have a Jacket prospect, defenseman Ole Bjorgvik-Holm. He’s a long-term prospect who is spending his first full season in the professional ranks.
Ole was drafted by the Jackets in the 5th round (#145 overall) at the 2020 NHL Draft, after a year spent with the Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). In his draft year, he scored 2 goals, 19 points, and added 47 penalty minutes in 57 OHL games.
The big Norwegian was forced to return to his home country for the next season due to the COVID pandemic, where he played much of the season on loan with Manglerud – scoring twice and adding 8 assists in 22 games. He also made his professional debut in North America that season, playing 16 games with the Cleveland Monsters (AHL), scoring 1 goal and 5 points.
Bjorgvik-Holm returned to Mississauga and the OHL for his 19 year old season, playing 54 games and scoring 3 goals, 13 points; and adding 82 penalty minutes. All of the bouncing around may have slowed his development, and this year he’s unfortunately found himself buried two steps away from the NHL; playing in the ECHL in spite of the injuries throughout the organization.
Through 40 games split between Cleveland and Kalamazoo, he has 0 goals and 4 assists this year. But you can’t just look at the statistics here and make any judgments, because Bjorgvik-Holm’s game is not one that relies on offense.
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At 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 pounds, his game is a bit of a throwback to defensemen of yesterday. He likes to use his size to play a physical, tough style in the defensive zone; where he can punish opposition players along the boards or in front of the net. He’s on the ice to defend his net, block shots, and keep things simple
He does have a big, heavy shot; but the downside here is that he has sluggish foot speed, which often leaves him out of the rush chances – and he isn’t skilled enough to get the offensive zone shifts, such as scoring shifts or power-play time.
Ultimately, it’s hard to project Bjorgvik-Holm as anything other than a potential bottom pairing, stay-at-home defender. Which is a good thing to have in the system; but he’ll definitely need to be quicker on his feet to play consistently in the NHL. Look for him to continue his development in the system over at least the next couple of seasons.