Before the season most people believed that Robert would have no problems making Leksand’s team
in the SEL. The team was relegated from the Swedish Elitserien and was now to play in the 2nd-tier league.
As the season got starting Robert got ill and missed the first couple of games. Then he was back on the team
only to see very limited ice-time. This isn’t/wasn’t very surprising really. Despite Robert’s excellent skills, he is still very young and Leksand’s squad is without any doubt the strongest in the 2nd-tier league. The player material
is most likely even stronger than what several of the SEL teams can show up.
With forwards like Jens Nielsen, Mikael Karlberg, Stefan Hellkvist, Sami Ahlberg, Chris Goverdaris, it’s not
easy for an 16-year old kid to have great impact. Not to forget all the other talented prospects in Leksand
(Jonas Norduist – Chicago, Daniel Widing – Nashville, Johan Eneqvist – Montreal)..etc.
So instead of being a regular on the team, Robert found him self in a role where he was part time a member
of the senior team, and part time with Leksand’s junior team in the Swedish J-20 league.
This is the way it has been most of the season for Robert.
If he would have played for another team he could easily have had quite an impact, but with the strong competition
in Leksand it’s more or less impossible.
He has so far played 14 games with in the 2nd-tier league (Allsvenskan) and he has been registered for 1 goal
and 4 assists (5 points).
Being a key-player on Leksand’s J-20 team, Nilsson has been way more successful there with 8 goals and 17 assists (25 points)
in 15 games.
There’s a possibility that this young player will become Sweden’s second player ever to go 1st overall in the NHL Entry Draft.
He is eligible for 2003 draft and is currently a lock to be drafted among the top 10.
It’s quite early to predict if he could go 1st overall or not. A lot can happen with a young players development
in a year and a half, but it sure looks promising.
I mentioned how good the team of Leksand is, and it will take a lot to stop them from playing in the SEL next season.
So, then Robert will finally make his elite league debut, one year older, one year tougher.