The 22-year-old forward spent the 2017-18 season playing for Karlskrona HK of the top Swedish league, the SHL. In 52 SHL games, Persson scored 13 goals and 24 points. In the 2016-17 season, Persson skated for BIK Karlskoga of the Allsvenskan - the second-highest league in Sweden. In 51 Allsvenskan games that season, Persson scored 26 goals and 44 points beating former Predators’ prospect and fellow Karlskoga skater Victor Ejdsell in the former category.
Persson got his start with the Kristianstads IK program in 2010 at the J18 level at just 15-years-old. He moved onto the Tingsryds program in 2011 before making his professional debut for HV71 alongside Kevin Fiala in 2014. After two seasons in the Allsvenskan, Persson graduation full-time to the SHL this season and earned an NHL contract in the process.
The Persson signing is a sign of the Predators continuing to restock their pipeline on the wing where numbers looked slim heading into this offseason.
By The Numbers
Persson tied for 10th in the SHL this season in scoring among U23 players. Although you hate to see the Preds lose a player like Ejdsell who finished third in scoring, Persson is a nice-sized forward with good numbers and better skating ability.
Above is a profile of Persson’s 2016-17 Allsvenskan season - these are the most accessible metrics for Swedish prospects. You’ll see Persson clocks in as a first-line forward in almost any metric at this level. His Corsi ranking against all top competition is impressive although his transition game isn’t anything to write home about. For perspective, the SHL is considered to have the second-best translation rate to NHL production so keep that in mind.
Persson, #94 in white, takes an excellent pass in transition, allows the defenseman to make an effort at gap control, and uses his adept skating ability to turn the corner and convert on a high-danger chance.
Persson here makes an excellent move along the boards after taking excellent strides through the neutral zone, cuts to the middle with some solid edge work and finishes well at the net.
In this clip, Persson uses great awareness in the neutral zone to pick up a loose puck and follows it up with outstanding speed to keep the attack moving forward. His linemate buries the puck after Persson gives him a nice pass after forcing the defenseman to retreat due to his zone entrance speed.
I don’t have much footage to give on Persson’s defensive play, but I've noticed he always keeps his feet moving in the defensive zone in an effort to improve his transition game. On this play, he gets drawn down low and doesn’t pick up the attacker coming into the slot to give up a goal.
At 6’1”, Persson isn’t huge in stature, but his speed and skating ability speaks for itself. He reminds me a bit of a taller Viktor Arvidsson with a more fluid skating stride. He has the tools to be an impact player, but there will certainly be a learning curve in the AHL next season.
It’s a two-year, waivers-exempt contract that carries a $725K cap hit and average-annual-value. His salary in the AHL will be $55K in both seasons, and he will earn $100K in signing bonuses over the two seasons.