The Canadiens officially parted ways with one of their prospects on Wednesday as they failed to sign Jacob Olofsson by the 5:00 PM ET deadline. He has become a free agent.
Olofsson was drafted in the second round by Montreal in 2018 (56th overall) after a strong first season playing in Sweden’s Allsvenskan, one level below the SHL. While there were questions about how much offensive upside he’d ultimately have, the 22-year-old was pegged as a high-floor player whose checking abilities would be good enough to at least give him a chance to be a fourth liner in the NHL regardless of what else happened.
However, that never materialized. Olofsson moved up to the SHL where he spent parts of three seasons but saw his role decrease more and more. His confidence suffered and his defensive game even started to struggle. Eventually, he agreed to drop back down a tier and his play over the final few months improved. That team (Timra) was elevated to the SHL for this season, giving him another chance at Sweden’s top level.
Unfortunately for both him and the Habs, it was more of the same from Olofsson. A limited role, limited production, and limited confidence; that’s a combo that never ends well and it resulted in him dropping to 36th in our annual prospect rankings series.
He was loaned from Timra to Frolunda with the hopes that a change of scenery would change his fortunes but it didn’t. Instead, he decided to go back down a level once again, inking a deal through next season in the process which was a telling sign that even he didn’t expect to be signed by Montreal. Olofsson actually did well down the stretch there with IF Bjorkloven, notching 14 points in 20 regular season games plus 13 more in 18 playoff contests but it wasn’t enough to get a contract.
As Olofsson wasn’t selected in the first round, the Canadiens won’t receive any draft pick compensation for not signing him. Instead, it’s the second year in a row the team has parted with a former second-round selection after Joni Ikonen wasn’t signed a year ago.