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LONG ISLAND-BOUND: Stefan Ridderwall

by Jason Lockhart / New York Islanders
A weekly look at an Islanders' top prospect


Height: 6-1     
Weight: 189     
Glove: Left
Born: March 5, 1988 – Stockholm, Sweden  
2006-07 Team: Djurgardens (SWE-Jr)
Acquired: Islanders 2006 sixth-round draft pick (173rd overall)

2006-07 Overview
After playing in less than half of Djurgardens' games in 2005-06, Stefan Ridderwall returned as the solidified No. 1 in 2006-07 and didn't disappoint. During the J20 SuperElite League regular season, Ridderwall placed first in the league with a .934 save percentage and second with a 1.93 goals against average, along with two shutouts.

Ridderwall's stellar play helped earn Djurgardens an 18-6-3 record and an automatic berth into the 2007 playoff. Before entering the final playoff stage, Djurgardens participated in the Top 8 round robin, which serves as a seeding tool. In the round-robin tournament, Djurgardens ranked second with a record of 8-4-2. Ridderwall was the catalyst, leading all goaltenders in save percentage (.947) and goals against average (1.44).

Stefan Ridderwall
Djurgardens' top-two finish earned then a bye in the first round of the final playoff stage and a spot in the quarterfinals. There, Ridderwall and his Djurgardens team dismantled Brynas in a two-game sweep of their best-of-three series. Ridderwall allowed only three goals in the series.

In the semifinals, Djurgardens held off the regular season champions HV-71 by scores of 3-2 and 1-0, before facing Frolunda in the finals. After winning Game 1 of the final 4-1, Djurgardens proceeded to drop the final two contests 2-1. Ridderwall finished the final playoff stage the leader in both save percentage (.956) and goals against average (1.44).

Earlier in July, after a couple of months off, Ridderwall competed in his first Islanders Prospect Camp. At the mini-camp, Ridderwall had the opportunity to compete against not just fellow Swedes, but players from all across Europe and North America. The experience proved to be valuable for Ridderwall, who looked as impressive during the scrimmages as he did in his native Sweden.

What They're Saying...
European Scout, Ander Kallur: "Stefan is a butterfly goalie, who stands up a bit more than other butterfly-style netminders. He has quick reflexes and good positioning. He played a lot of games last season, so it gave him a good opportunity to improve. I spoke to Stefan after the Islanders mini-camp and he said he had problems at first adjusting to the different style of game. He said he faced more shots and had to focus more on the shooters going harder to the net. In Sweden, there is more setting up the play. But at the end of camp, my colleagues said he looked more comfortable on the ice."

What's Next?
After playing junior hockey for the past five years, Ridderwall will be suiting up for Djurgardens' Swedish Elite League team in 2007-08. He is set to serve as the backup netminder, but due to his impressive performance last season, look for Ridderwall to see extra playing time if the No. 1 falters.

"As a result of his outstanding play last season, Stefan will get the opportunity to prove himself against the best players in Sweden this season," said Kallur. "He still needs to get stronger and fill out. I can see him playing about 15 games this season, but if he plays more, he should gain more confidence."

Stefan Ridderwall PROJECTion

Considering Ridderwall was a sixth-round draft pick and the best goalie in Sweden at his level, he looks like a steal. Next season he'll play a more limited role, but at a much higher level. If he proves to the coaches that his game translates well at the Elite level then he should be in line for a starting position in 2008-09. If he maintains his high level of play at the highest level in Sweden over the next three or four years, he could potentially become a No. 1 netminder in the NHL.

Career Regular Season Stats
Season Team GP GAA PCT
2003-2004 Huddinge U18  Swe-U18   7 5.38 .850
2004-2005 Djurgarden U18  Swe-U18   3 3.10 .910
2004-2005 Djurgarden Jr.  Swe-Jr.   16 3.15 .888
2005-2006 Djurgarden Jr.  Swe-Jr.   18 2.40 .912
2005-2006 Djurgarden  Sweden   1 .00 1.00
2006-2007 Djurgarden Jr.  Swe-Jr.  28 1.78 .938
Career Playoff Stats
Season Team GP GAA PCT
2004-2005 Djurgarden U18  Swe-U18   4 2.81 .900
2005-2006 Djurgarden Jr.  Swe-Jr.   4 3.22 .894
2006-2007 Djurgarden Jr.  Swe-Jr.  7 1.44 .956

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