Prospects Library: Oscar Dansk
10-19 @ London
Made in the image and likeness of many other prototypical large-framed Swedish goalies, Oscar Dansk is clearly a top-flight NHL prospect. The foundation and essence of his style is the ability to move so economically that he displays very little movement, and therefore a lot of patience. He stays square to pucks and shooters, and based around a blocking-oriented mindset, he does a great job of staying centered in his net and letting pucks hit him.
Like a lot of European goalies, most of Dansk’s movements are comprised of very small shuffles. There are different reasons why some goalies feel shuffles are more biomechanically efficient than t-pushes, and for Dansk, it’s the benefit of relying on his size and staying inside the blue paint to be set and ready for shots. As a result of this, his lateral slides and pushes are short and explosive, as opposed to long and smooth.
One of Dansk’s biggest strengths is his ability to control the ice by sealing off everything down low. He also has a strong understanding of how to execute post coverages on both the blocker and glove side using the reverse VHS technique. Furthermore, due to a strong and wide lower body, he’s like an anchor in the crease, which reminds me of Antti Niemi. His knees seal the ice with power, and he stays extremely patient with his feet and hands, so it’s very tough to squeeze pucks through or underneath him.
Dansk’s angles and positioning is visualized as a small triangle within the crease. That means everything he does in terms of squaring up is compacted and condensed so that his movements are limited, which allows him to be set and ready when shots are taken. The main negative effect to this is the fact that elevated shots will find space over the shoulders since he stays in the blue paint on such a consistent basis.
As he moves up the ranks, he will have to get better at reading plays, and knowing when to move dynamically in order to come out and challenge shooters just a bit.
Dansk’s hand positioning is unique. They stay low and tight to his body, and the glove is turned in with the wrist facing his left hip bone. I don’t know if this an intentional baiting technique or not, but if anything, it helps him build a solid wall down low when shots are up to 12-16″ off the ice. If he doesn’t get a good read on an elevated shot, or if it comes through traffic, he’s susceptible to reacting late, or having pucks deflect off his arm uncontrollably.
I do feel that Dansk has very good patience on the blocker side, however. I don’t see any reaching or excess movement, as he allows the puck to come to his body, then he rolls the wrist over while still keeping the elbow and arm tight to the body. It looks unique because his hand doesn’t pull away from the body, but still displays natural and smooth mobility.
Due to the way he skates, Dansk won’t be very active playing the puck. I think his stick handling and passing skills will improve over time, but ultimately, getting out of the net to move the puck will only happen in obvious situations, or where he has plenty of time to retrieve it, pass it, and return to the crease.
Overall, Dansk is quickly developing a reputation for being durable, stable, reliable, and efficient. All of these technical and emotional elements play a big role in why I considered him the best goalie available in the 2012 NHL Draft, and why he will probably turn pro after just two full seasons in the OHL.
Technically sound and capable of stealing games, Dansk has the potential to one day be considered along the lines of current Swedish studs like Robin Lehner, Jacob Markstrom, and Eddie Lack. As long as he continues to work on his quickness and agility, the technical base to his game and the pure instincts will slowly evolve into that of a top-flight NHL goaltender.