NHL Draft Prospect Profile #22: Ludvig Bystrom

Drafted 43rd Overall by the Dallas Stars.

Ludvig Bystrom (Byström) is yet another example of the improvement of Swedish Hockey in recent years.  After nearly a decade of poor international results among their junior teams, the Swedish Hockey program has really turned it around, culminating in a gold medal at the World Junior Championships.  Bystrom didn’t play on that World Junior Team, but he should be part of future editions of Team Sweden, and he follows Filip Forsberg, Sebastian Collberg, and Pontus Aberg as Swedish Prospects for this years NHL Draft.  He also comes in just ahead of fellow defender Hampus Lindholm. Bystrom has come up through Modo’s development program and even made his Elitserien debut at the age of just 16.

Defense
Born Jul 20 1994 – Örnsköldsvik, SWE
Height 5.11 — Weight 187 — Shoots L

2010-11 Modo Hockey Ornskoldsvik SEL 1 0 0 0 0 0
2011-12 Modo Hockey Ornskoldsvik SEL 20 0 1 1 8 2

Bystrom has been extremely impressive at the international level for Sweden.  He was a key component of Sweden’s 2011 Ivan Hlinka Team which won the Silver Medal, the 2012 Five Nations Team which won Gold, and the 2012 IIHF Under 18  World Championship Team which won silver.  He has also gained valuable experience playing against men in 20 games for Modo in the Swedish Elitserien.

Bystrom has a ton of offensive potential.  He is a very good skater, extremely agile and mobile. Bystrom has good work on his edges, excellent pivots and changes of direction, and very good balance.  His top speed is above average.  Bystrom is a good stickhandler and a creative player in the offensive zone, and when joining the rush.  He is a great passer with excellent vision, and is very good at distributing the puck, especially on the PP.  One criticism is that we don’t think Bystrom shoots the puck enough.  He is always looking to pass and this limits his effectiveness to a certain extent as opponents have realized that this is his game.  Even when he does shoot, he will need some time to develop a harder slapshot.

Defensively Bystrom plays a game that relies on stick-checking opponents and using his great skating to stay in the right position in order to stop opponents.  While Bystrom doesn’t shy away from physical contact initiated by opponents, he’s not known as a big hitter.  When we first saw Bystrom at the 2011 Hlinka Tournament we noticed that he had a tendency to chase the puck too much and take himself out of position.  However, our more recent viewings at the Under-18 World Championship indicate a player who has learned to play a very sound positional game, and has developped his defensive hockey sense and instincts.  His quick skating and good passing also help him defensively, as he gets to loose pucks and quickly starts the transition game, removing the puck from his own zone.

Bystrom has progressed a lot this year, however he is still a bit of a work in progress.  We do think he has a very high ceiling though, and we feel he could develop into a player similar to Tomas Kaberle currently of the Montreal Canadiens.  We note that this projection is more of what Kaberle looked like in his prime with the Toronto Maple Leafs, than it is Kaberle today.

… and thats the Last Word.