He isn’t as glaringly recognizable as recent Broomfield athletes Brandon Bailey, Spenser Reeb and Ryan McCulley. But that doesn’t render Gustav Olofsson’s recent achievement any less significant.
In fact, it trumps those of his former classmates and, essentially, any athlete in the state.
Olofsson was chosen by the Minnesota Wild in the second round of the NHL draft last month. The defenseman was the 46th overall pick and the Wild’s initial choice in the draft.
Olofsson attended Broomfield from his freshman through his junior year before moving to Wisconsin and attending Ashwaubenon High School as a senior in 2012-13. He made the move so he could play for the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League and further turn himself into an NHL prospect. The Gamblers are coached by former University of Denver assistant Derek Lalonde.
“Coming into the season, I would have never imagined that,” Olofsson said. “But as the season went on, especially the second half, I feel like I kind of played my way into where I got selected. Toward the end, I felt it was deserving.”
While in Broomfield, the Swedish-born Olofsson played for the Colorado Thunderbirds Triple-A youth hockey squad, based on the south side of the Denver-metro corridor, and developed under the tutelage of coach Angelo Ricci and his staff.
He will play at Colorado College next season. NHL teams retain rights to their draft choices while they play for college squads.
“He’s got patience with the puck, he’s got poise, he skates well and he’s got terrific hockey sense,” said Ricci, another prominent DU hockey alum. “I think you really saw ‘Goose’ take off his U18 year (2011-12), where he could have been the best player in the country individually. You could just really see him growing with his confidence and his strength.”
Olofsson is close friends with former Erie student Jaccob Slavin, a defenseman who was chosen by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fourth round last season. Slavin played for the USHL’s Chicago Steel last season and, although he was drafted a year earlier, will begin his freshman season at CC in 2013-14 alongside Olofsson.
“It wasn’t planned at first,” Olofsson said. “I got moved up, and I think it’s good for both of us. We can compete against each other a little bit and use that as a push to make each other better.”
In 63 games with Green Bay last season, the 190-pound Olofsson registered two goals, 21 assists and posted a plus-11 plus/minus rating. McKeen’s Hockey described him in a scouting report as: “A poised, big-bodied rearguard and a mobile, all-axis skater powered by excellent feet and a smooth, sturdy stride.”
Ricci admitted he might be biased, but he envisions big things for his former pupil who stands just shy of 6-foot-3.
“He’s got what it takes, I think,” Ricci said. “He’s got the patience and the mentality to play the pro game. It’s going to be interesting to see him develop over the next few years.”
Olofsson’s family still lives in the Broomfield area and includes brothers Fredrik — another rising star in the Thunderbirds organization, and 7-year-old, Jesper, who already is playing hockey.
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