DRAFT YEAR PRODUCTION: Lulea (SHL); 22 GP, 12-6-4, 2.23, GAA, .908%, 2SO
RANKING: 2nd Ranked North American Goaltender - Central Scouting
WHAT'S THE BUZZ
"Looking to become the first goaltender to be selected in the top-10 since superstar Carey Price, Wallstedt oozes franchise netminder potential. In fact, a lot of what was said about Price in his draft year can be said about Wallstedt, especially when it comes to how calm he is in the crease." -Matthew Zator, The Hockey Writers
CUT TO THE CHASE
Jesper Wallstedt has been touted as the "next Henrik Lundqvist," his boyhood idol, since he was 14 years old and played for the J20 Superelit league. His style has drawn comparisons to his hero, particularly his preference to remain deeper in his crease and not to aggressively challenge shots.
Wallstedt already has all the physical tools, standing at 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds. He has a huge frame that takes up a lot of net. And his skating and footwork are exceptional. He gets into and out of his butterfly or his reverse VH with efficiency. Beyond the physical, scouts give him high marks for his hockey IQ and ability to read the play, though they note he needs to improve his anticipation.
If there is an area of concern it would be high shots. His blocker needs some improvement, where he was victimized regularly during last season. Scouts seem mixed on his glove side, with some praising his catcher while others seeing it as a weakness. Wallstedt also has to work on his rebound control, which is average for a goalie his age.
But Wallstedt proved he can play among men. He handled the bulk of the starting duties for Lulea in the top SHL league, and handled himself well. He relinquished his starting role with the return of normal starter Joel Lassinantti, who returned from HK Sochi in the KHL. Some of the credit could be given to Lulea's superb defensive play in front of Wallstedt, but the team thought enough of him to keep playing him down the stretch.
DID YOU KNOW?
Wallstedt is the youngest player in history to debut in the Sweden's J20 Superelit league, doing so at the age of 14.