LBC's Top 25 Panthers Under 25: #18 Rasmus Bengtsson

A young Swedish defensemen still trying to find his team, Rasmus Bengtsson is number 18 on our list of the top 25 Florida Panthers under 25. The Landskrona, Sweden native has been playing hockey with the Rögle Bandyklubb organization since 2008, until being loaned to the Muskegon Lumberjacks last season, and with whom he will be playing next season.

Position: D ▪ Shoots: Left
Height: 6-2 ▪ Weight: 196 lbs.
Born: May 14, 1993 (Age 19) in Landskrona, Sweden
Draft: Florida, 2nd round (59th overall), 2011

Rasmus Bengtsson laced up the skates for Rögle's under 18 team for all of the 2008-09 season, playing 23 games, scoring one goal and seven points. He was promoted to the Under-20 team the following season, after just eight games with the Under-18 team, playing 42 games while scoring 3 goals and 23 points, second on his team in scoring by defensemen. He played with Sweden at the 2010 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, appearing in all six games, scoring 3 points (1G/2A).

In the Elitserien, or Swedish Elite League, the two lowest-seeded teams at the end of the year play in a series called the Kvalserien, together with the two top seeds in the second-tier league HockeyAllsvenskan. The two teams qualify for the next Elitserien season, while the others are demoted to HockeyAllsvenskan. In 2010, Rögle BK was demoted and wouldn't be promoted back to the Elitserien until the upcoming 2013 season.

Bengtsson would play 17 more games with the Under-20 squad before being promoted to Rögle BK of HockeyAllsvenskan. With Rögle BK that season, Bengtsson struggled, scoring only nine points (2G/7A) with a minus-eight in 45 games. He represented Sweden at the 2011 IIHF World U18 Championships in Germany, helping his nation win silver with 4 assists in six games.

Last season in Sweden was a tough one as he was demoted back to the Under-20 team after playing 18 games, scoring only 3 assists. Bengtsson's scoring returned with the Under-20 club, as he garnered 11 points (3G/8A) in 15 games before being loaned to the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL.

With the Lumberjacks he played 34 games, scoring ten points (3G/7A) finishing the season fourth in team defensemen scoring. He played five games with gold medal-winning Sweden at the 2012 IIHF World U20 Championships, going scoreless.

Defensively Bengtsson is a smart player with nice size, which he uses to play a simple defensive game. His skating is very good and is a fine mobile player. He has the makings of a great power play quarterback with his passing skills and on-ice vision, as well as a solid shot. While he does need a few seasons of experience in tougher leagues, he is a solid defensive prospect in a system full of solid defensive prospects. He isn't the most physical player on the ice, but does have bottom-four upside.