GLENDALE - Filip Westerlund enjoys fishing in the off-season. The young Swede finds angling fun, and he likes being rewarded for being patient. It's a trait he brings to his hockey game.
"Filip's a very patient defenseman, yet he quickly sorts his options," said Tim Bernhardt, the Coyotes Director of Amateur Scouting. "He's not the biggest guy on the ice, but he uses his head and skill to defend."
Westerlund is honing his skills this week playing for Team Sweden at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich., which features practices and games against teams from the United States, Canada and Finland. He's hoping to eventually earn a roster spot for Sweden's entry into the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. Team Sweden is slated to play Team USA on Wednesday, and NHL Network will broadcast the game at 1 p.m. Arizona time.
Arizona is taking a patient approach with Westerlund, whom they landed with the 44th overall pick at this year's NHL Draft. The Coyotes are hoping he will add size and strength to his 5-foot-11, 174-pound frame over the next few seasons.
Westerlund was one of five defensemen Arizona drafted this year. NHL Central Scouting ranked him 15th among European skaters available.
"He's really calm and poised back there," Bernhardt said. "He's got a low panic point and he goes back and gets pucks and makes plays. He's got good agility and moves pucks up the ice very calmly."
Westerlund split the 2016-17 season between the top division Frolunda team and its affiliate in the Swedish Under 20 League. He played 33 games in the men's league. The highlight of Westerlund's season came at the IIHF Under 18 World Championship where he notched a goal and an assist in seven games, and was named one of the top three Swedish players in the tournament.
Westerlund recently skated with other Coyotes prospects at the annual Development Camp here in Arizona. It was there he displayed his speed and his high hockey IQ, which is not surprising considering he grew up in a hockey family. His father, Jerry Andersson, played pro hockey in Sweden for many years. Some of his uncles are hockey players, too.
Westerlund said he likes to study the game to learn tendencies of opponents.
"That has helped me a lot," Westerlund said. "I know where to be and where not to be. And I know where guys want to go before they're there."
Westerlund plans to return to Frolunda for the 2017-18 season, and to work on his shot and his skating.
"I have good coaches back there in Sweden and good teammates to help me," Westerlund said.
Filip Westerlund's Pre-Draft Bio