The NHL made a decision to help satisfy the anticipation many NHL fans have been experiencing: the 2020 NHL Entry Draft has been moved up. The first round will be held Tuesday, October 6. The rest of the draft will occur on Wednesday, October 7. In these unusual times, the draft will be held virtually.
Editor John Hoven has informed us multiple times the Kings are likely to draft a defenseman with their next pick after second overall. As a result, we’d like to explore more possible targets. The Kings have been able to get some steady NHL-caliber players out of Sweden, so let’s cross the pond and take a look at one who checks many boxes.
Date of Birth: July 28, 2002
Weight: 192 lbs
Wallinder played the entirety of the 2019-20 season in Sweden. He picked up two assists in 18 appearances for AllSvenskan (Sweden’s AHL equivalent) as well as 24 points (5 G, 19 A) in 37 games for the J20 SuperElit league (Swedish Juniors). This was all done with the MODO program.
MODO might sound familiar to those avid fans. It’s from where Adrian Kempe and Carl Grundstrom played before they came to North America. It also boasts some names such as Victor Hedman, William Nylander, Victor Olofsson, Mats Zuccarello, Alexander Steen, and Peter Forsberg.
Allsvenskan It Takes Is Two
Though two points in 18 contests may not sound like eye popping numbers, it was enough for Wallinder to get recognition as the most points earned by a U-18 player in the league that season. Some other notable blueliners who achieved this feat are Philip Broberg (2019), Oliver Kylington (2015) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (2009). Among those four, Wallinder’s production was the lowest.
Wallinder earned bronze in the annual Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He scored no points in the tournament. However, Sweden’s bid for another trophy at the U-18 did not come to fruition due to COVID.
Rankings by Independent Scouting Services
Last Word On Hockey, 24th. “Already possessing excellent size and still growing, Wallinder should make NHL scouts and general managers drool. When you add in his strong skating, and his offensive skill, his potential is immense. However, his game is very raw, and he needs some coaching with the puck on his stik as well as defending away from the play. Wallinder needs some development time before he is ready to take the next step. Expect him to spend a couple of more years playing in Sweden before coming to North America. His game is reminiscent of Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on his skill and ability.”
Future Considerations, 32nd. They summarize him as a non-flashy defenseman who doesn’t take unnecessary risks that could damage a team.
Hockey Prospect, 45th. They mention his spatial awareness is his best mental quality that supplements his proclivity to skate the puck. They also feel his skating is very good, which is an impressive quality considering his size.
See For Yourself
Will Scouching has a channel in which he breaks down the player’s qualities. This isn’t the same highlight reel, but it offers an analysis of the player with supplemental video.
For the most part, Wallinder is ranked right in the wheelhouse of where Los Angeles will first be picking in the second round. While Rob Blake and Mark Yannetti certainly have their own list, the lanky defender checks a lot of boxes. He boasts good size, skates well, and comes from a program known for generating talent.
Also as an interesting note, he could get some additional playing time in Sweden prior to the draft, so Los Angeles can get a glimpse of how this season will pan out before they draft and plan a developmental path for him.
NOTE: Davis Green was the lead contributor in the gathering of information used in this article. You can find him on Twitter @davisgreen_.