With the U-18 tournament currently underway, several 2021 draft hopefuls are hoping to increase their draft stock. There was no Hlinka Gretzky tournament, which is typically the first international tournament for the upcoming draft class to showcase their talent against their peers. Some get an opportunity to play in the U-20 WJC, as was the case for Los Angeles’ 2020 first-round pick Quinton Byfield last year. Overall, though, the international tilts in April best displays the upcoming draft class relative to peers.
One such player who stands above the rest, quite literally, is Swedish blueliner Simon Edvinsson
Date of Birth: February 5, 2003
Weight: 207 lbs
Edvinsson played the entirety of the 2020-21 season in various Swedish leagues. At the highest level, he picked up one point, an assist, in 10 SHL games. In the ongoing U-18 tournament, he has also accumulated two assists during the round robin, which consists of four contests.
To and Frö-lunda
The native of Onsala has played for multiple teams in varying levels of competition this year. In the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and juniors, he wore the crest of Frölunda – the team may sound familiar to avid readers of Mayor’s Manor, as that is the alma mater of Samuel Fagemo and Jacob Moverare. In the Allsvenskan league, which would be best described as the AHL equivalent in Sweden, Edvinsson was loaned to Västerås.
Frölunda isn’t the only link between Fagemo and the towering defenseman. They also played for the same youth team, the HK Kings.
Size isn’t the only notable attribute he’s brought to the ice in his young career. Along with winning gold in 2018-19, he was also recognized for most assists by a defenseman in multiple U-16 age group tournaments (namely the U16 SM and the TV-Pucken competitions). Kings draft pick Jacob Moverare also earned this recognition in TV-Pucken during the 2013-14 season.
Rankings by Independent Scouting Services
Ranked 26th by The Draft Analyst – “There’s always one draft prospect a year who the consensus goes bananas over with the praise centered on “upside” more than anything else. Edvinsson has (almost) everything you would want in a defenseman — size, mobility, poise, aggressiveness, and creativity. He’s been an on-ice leader for every one of Sweden’s teenage national teams, and his dominant showing at the 2019 world under-17 hockey challenge (almost 17 months ago!) is at this point his most impressive performance when nearly every facet of his game was clicking. Since then, it’s been a mixed bag at all three levels of Swedish hockey — the J20 Nationell, the adult-age Allsvenskan, and the elite SHL.”
Ranked second with Bob McKenzie’s Mid-Season Rankings – They remark Edvinsson is “a rangy, mobile blueliner with size and puck-moving ability.”
Ranked eighth by Last Word on Sports – “Edvinsson’s combination of size, skill, and skating ability gives him a very high ceiling. He could become a top-pairing defender at the next level. There are areas of his game that need improvement, including his shot and his defensive game though. His game is still a bit raw and he will likely need more time in Sweden or the AHL before he is ready to make an impact at the NHL level. The raw traits here are very intriguing though, and with good coaching and development the team that drafts him could have a real gem. Edvinsson’s game is reminiscent of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, however, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.”
See For Yourself
Will Scouching makes several videos where he gathers sample data from observing players, and he gives an in-depth analysis of his observations. He provided similar analysis on Edvinsson, and explained how he’s such a boom-or-bust prospect.
As of this writing, the Kings aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, yet McLellan has already stated the Kings are out. Last season, they took a swing for the fences with Quinton Byfield. Edvinsson appears to be in the same vein as their second overall pick of 2020, in that he has a great deal of size and talent, although Edvinsson’s resume and numbers stand out less.
The team who takes the rangy blueliner absolutely must have the utmost trust in their developmental staff to bring him along and prepare properly for the NHL. With their knack for identifying talent who have maturity and responsibility on the blueline, the Kings scouting and development staff have earned credit to have that task bestowed upon them with Edvinsson.
The Kings have two main options going forward in how they want to keep replenishing their cupboard with defensive prospects. They can either target mobile defenders who move the puck and are effective at suppressing shots as they mature (for example, Brock Faber, Tobias Bjornfot, and Mikey Anderson). Alternatively, they can put a bigger emphasis on offensive defensemen who focus more on generating offense and getting pucks on net (for example, Helge Grans or Sean Durzi). If they want to stay with the first group going forward, Edvinsson is a boom-or-bust pick who happens to fit that profile. If it’s the latter, they may be trying to fit him into a role where he isn’t best utilized.
NOTE: David Hofreiter was the lead contributor in the gathering of information used in this article. You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.