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Brandsegg-Nygard getting valuable reps for Norway at World Championship | NHL.com

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PRAGUE, Czechia — Michael Brandsegg-Nygard is getting in more than just game action with Norway at the 2024 IIHF World Championship in Czechia.

The forward, a projected first-round pick in the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft, is also getting a crash course on what he can expect when he tries to make the jump to the NHL.

“I mean, it’s really cool and a really great experience for me,” Brandsegg-Nygard said. “It’s really exciting to play against those guys you’ve seen on the TV a lot and guys you have looked up to for your whole life.

“I really do learn a lot because when I watch those players from Canada, for example, or (Norway teammate) Mats Zuccarello, who plays in the NHL, I’m trying to learn as much as possible because he is a really good player. I like his style of hockey and maybe I try to put some of his skills into my game, too.”

Brandsegg-Nygard is confident the experience has reenforced the belief he is close to his NHL future.

“I think so,” Brandsegg-Nygard said. “I always go out on the ice with a lot of confidence and I think I can make it all the way.”

Brandsegg-Nygard (6-foot-1, 198 pounds) was born in Oslo, Norway, but spent the 2023-24 season with Mora in HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden’s second division. He had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 41 regular-season games, and 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 12 playoff games.

The 18-year-old also had five points (three goals, two assists) and averaged 17:22 of ice time in five games for Norway at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“He’s going to be a really good player,” said Zuccarello, a forward with the Minnesota Wild who holds the record for most goals (198), assists (438), points (636) and games played (835) by a Norwegian-born player in NHL history. “He’s got an unbelievable release and shot. He’s a righty, and he can create space for himself because he’s got a big body.”

Brandsegg-Nygard, No. 5 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of international skaters for the 2024 draft, is the third-youngest player at the World Championship; Konsta Helenius of Finland is the youngest, and Brandsegg-Nygard’s teammate, Stian Solberg, is second-youngest (each is also 18).

“Michael is one of the best prospects from Norway for years,” NHL Director of European Scouting Jukka-Pekka Vuorinen said. “He makes good decisions with the puck and can see the ice very well. He looks very confident and poised with the puck. He is strong on his skates and has fair first-step quickness He has smooth hands and his wrister is dangerous.”

Age hasn’t been a factor for Brandsegg-Nygard, according to Solberg.

“He’s a big guy,” said Solberg, No. 20 in Central Scouting’s final ranking. “He’s strong. He has a great shot. His head (might be his best trait), maybe. He never backs down. He doesn’t let anyone touch him. He stands up for himself. He’s a tough guy and he’s physical. He can play-make, put up some great passes. But it’s his shot. He has a great shot.”

The shot has been on display at the World Championship.

Brandsegg-Nygard, who is averaging 14:10 of ice-time per game, is first on Norway with three goals, and third with seven points.

Admittedly, he doesn’t “really think about” how he’s made the seamless transition to the larger stage. 

“I just go out and play,” said Brandsegg-Nygard, who will play with Skelleftea AIK in the SHL, Sweden’s top division, next season. “I always think that I’m the best out there. That works for me. I just go out and do what I always have done.”

The draft will be held at Sphere in Las Vegas on June 28-29. The first round will be Friday, June 28 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS) with rounds 2-7 on Saturday, June 29 (11:30 ET; ESPN+, NHLN, SN, SN1).

There, Brandsegg-Nygard stands to become the highest-drafted Norwegian player ever, and the first first-round pick in his country’s history. Forward Marius Holtet, who was selected by the Dallas Stars in the second round (No. 42) of the 2002 NHL Draft, currently holds the distinction.

“I can’t lie,” Brandsegg-Nygard said. “It’s hard to not think about the draft when you’re playing, for example, but I don’t think it’s a problem. I just think it gives me motivation to keep going and work harder.”

NHL.com senior draft writer Michael G. Morreale contributed to this report

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