23 Options for the Leafs at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft: Freij + Sahlin Wallenius

The two have spent years as teamates both in Sweden for Vaxjo and internationally for the national team
Alfons Freij (#20) for Sweden at the U18 Five Nations Tournament
Alfons Freij (#20) for Sweden at the U18 Five Nations Tournament / Michael Miller/ISI Photos/GettyImages
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Scouting Report

Alfons Freij

Alfons Freij is one of the more exciting players in this draft class. There's a lot of what makes a successful modern defender in how Freij plays the game.

Strong off the rush, Freij is a good puck carrier who does well moving the puck in transition and creating separation space for himself. He's quick and mobile, which helps him quickly bring play up ice into the opposing end.

High level of creativity with the puck, Freij is very good when it comes to puckhandling and control. His fast skating is matched with his quick processing speed. Freij thinks fast, and plays fast. Freij has a very good shooting ability. Accurate shot ability and at times has done so at a high volume, but has a lack of goals to show for it.

Freij can control the tempo of the game at his best. Freij's control is so skillful that he can even fool opponents with his play. His strong vision makes him consistently able to spot opponents and quickly create dangerous chances, even while playing from afar.

His skating is one of the best in this draft. Already mobility has been mentioned but Freij has an incredibly quick first step and a strong motor both with and without the puck. His backwards skating is almost as quick as his forward skating.

On the defensive end, Freij is best in using his speed to shut down chances on the rush. He does show he can poke at the puck and even lay down a few hits, but he's not overly physical or dominating defensively.

He has decent enough size to use but doesn't play that pressing of a speed. That's not to say Freij isn't a player who isn't physical, he just doesn't always use his body as much as he could. Freij is one of the most naturally skilled players in this draft class.

At his very best, Freij could be a low-end 1st pairing offensive defenseman depending on his defensive growth. If he doesn't gain much in physicality, a probable projection is a 2nd pairing D with PP responsibilities. There's reason to believe in Freij as a potential gem and future top line defender in this draft class if all goes right.