Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Jesper Wallstedt Scouting Report.
Recent years have seen goalies Spencer Knight and Yaroslav Askarov be picked just outside the top 10 of the NHL Draft. In 2021, Swedish goalie Jesper Wallstedt hopes to become the first top-10 pick since Carey Price in 2005. Wallstedt has spent the season with Lulea HF in the SHL. Playing against men, he put up a 12-10-0 record, .908 save percentage, 2.23 goals-against average, and 2 shutouts in 22 games.
Wallstedt also played two games for Sweden at the World Juniors putting up an 0-1-0 record with a .923 save percentage, and 2.40 goals-against average. Wallstedt also helped Sweden to a bronze medal at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup with a .936 save percentage in three games.
Last season, Wallstedt had just one SHL game. Despite a .944 save percentage, he took the loss. He went 16-11-0, with a .923 save percentage and 2.53 goals-against average in 28 games in the Under-20 league. His older brother, Jacob Wallstedt, is another goalie who has played NCAA Hockey in Division as well as lower-level pro hockey in Sweden.
Jesper Wallstedt Scouting Report
Goaltender — shoots Left — catches Left
Born November 14th, 2002 — Vasteras, Sweden
Height 6’3″ — Weight 203 lbs [191 cm/92 kg]
Skating and Talent Analysis
At 6’3″ Wallstedt has decent size for a modern goalie prospect but is not going to be confused with the giants drafted in recent years either. His rebound control is very good for a young goalie, far ahead of other prospects his age. Wallstedt swallows up a lot of shots and just doesn’t give rebounds. He is also extremely efficient in his movements and is almost always square to the puck. This helps him to make a second save when he does give up a rebound. He is pretty good at angling pucks to the corners when he can’t swallow them.
Wallstedt’s technique is incredibly advanced for a young goaltender. He uses his size effectively, coming out to cut down angles and gives shooters very little net to look at. His strong legs take away the bottom of the net. They also make him an effective skater. He is able to take away those angles but still gets a good backward push, which makes him hard to deke. Those strong legs also give him a strong push and good side-to-side movement. He tracks the puck extremely well on cross-ice passes and can get over to still make the save.
Wallstedt is also good at handling the puck and making a pass to set up the breakout. He often acts like a third defenceman for his team, quickly moving the puck to his defenceman and helping the transition game. If the opposing team gets caught on a line change, he can make a long pass to create an odd-man rush for the forwards.
Wallstedt also shows maturity, not being rattled by goals or traffic around his net. He keeps his composure and is ready to make the next save no matter what the situation. His coolness and composure become a source of strength for teammates, especially on the Swedish junior teams. They look to him in order to calm things down when his team faces adversity. Wallstedt also shows leadership ability, communicating with and instructing the defenders in front of him.
Projection and Comparison
Wallstedt is one of the most advanced goalie prospects seen in recent years. However, despite that he could still use another year or two in the SHL or AHL before going to the NHL. Some time in the AHL would help him to adjust to the different angles that he will see on North American Ice. Wallstedt has the potential to be a franchise goaltender. His style is comparable to Tuukka Rask, however this is more of a stylistic comparison than one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Jesper Wallstedt that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Jesper Wallstedt Scouting Report Main Photo:
EDMONTON, AB – DECEMBER 26: Goaltender Jesper Wallstedt #1 of Sweden skates against the Czech Republic during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 26, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)