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2023 Draft Scouting Report #54: Arvid Bergstrom

Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2023 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, Kyle Pereira and Frederik Frandson 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”! Today we bring you our Arvid Bergstrom Scouting Report. 

Arvid Bergstrom Scouting Report

Bergstrom, born June 12th, 2005, in Sodertalje, Sweden, is a defender playing in the Swedish junior leagues. The left-shot defenseman playing in the Djurgardens organization stands at 5’11” and 168 pounds. Playing between the J20 and J18 Nationell this season, Bergstrom produced fairly well. In one J18 game, he had an assist. Meanwhile, he scored two goals and 21 assists for 23 points across 41 J20 games. Getting a spot on the Swedish World Junior Championship U18 squad this year, he managed three assists in seven games. 

Despite the decent production from the blueline at the Swedish junior ranks, Bergstrom has mostly fallen under the radar. He has only been ranked by four sites, and only one of them has him within the top-100. He has been ranked 63rd by Smaht Scouting, 127th by Daily Faceoff, 141st by FCHockey, and 168th by Draft Prospects Hockey. 

Arvid Bergstrom Deep Dive

Bergstrom is not a well-known prospect to this point in his career. This was the first time playing more than five J20 games in a season, while better known prospects have played several games at the men’s level already. His production also left some to be desired as well, even though he is a defender. But what makes him a potential late round steal? And why does he deserve to be on more boards?

Arvid Bergstrom’s Skating 

Bergstrom is a very strong skater. His strides are smooth and have good power behind them. Each stride, he maximizes with good, long strides and overall sound mechanics. Bergstrom has really good speed in both directions, though neither will blow anyone away either. But, he does not lose races to lose pucks very often, and that’s the biggest testament to his speed. Additionally, he has great four-way mobility thanks to his edges and acceleration, allowing him to take off in any direction. 

His skating overall allows him to defend against the rush well with his gaps. Additionally, his edges allow him to walk the line in the offensive end to open passing and shooting lanes. His skating may not be exactly elite, but it can be with more work and bulking up. That being said, skating is a skill that almost every prospect has or can improve on to the point of being NHL calibre. What else does he bring to the table?

Offensive Abilities

As mentioned with his skating, his offensive skills are aided by his ability to walk the line. However, he isn’t the most involved, nor the most creative. But he’s well-balanced in the way he attacks, and most importantly, efficient. While he doesn’t jump in the play too often, when he does, he can threaten with both his shot and smart passes. His shot packs some power behind it, and he does a good job getting it on net. Again, he gets it on net because he’s able to walk the line to open those shooting lanes. 

As for his passing, while he tends to go for the simple pass to the open man, he also surprisingly attacks the slot often too. When watching him, it doesn’t feel that way, however. For the most part, he keeps the play simple and straightforward. There’s some upside to his offensive game if he can have a more accurate shot, add more power to it, and be a better overall passer. But that isn’t totally necessary for his game. 

Arvid Bergstrom’s Transitional Abilities

Bergstrom is not the most involved, nor the most efficient, in terms of moving the puck. While his skating is something that should allow him to be much better in this aspect, he simply is too timid with the puck. He doesn’t take very many risks in terms of moving the puck in any capacity. Whether it’s in the offensive zone or otherwise, he keeps it simple and easy. But that takes away from the upside and potential he could show with his skating. Bergstrom needs to gain more confidence and come out of his shell for this to become more efficient. But remember, he is one of the youngest players in the class with a summer birthdate. He has time. 

As for defending the rush, he generally keeps good gaps and angles his opponents wide fairly well. However, he doesn’t have a very active stick, and can be a bit too complacent at times. That leads to opponents gaining entry fairly easily compared to many of the other prospective defenders in the class. His skating is very good, and he should be better here. But again, that comes with confidence and more experience. 

Bergstrom’s Defensive Zone Play

Bergstrom, as mentioned, does not have the most active stick and can be complacent when defending the rush. That also pops up in his defensive game. He doesn’t play physical, and doesn’t involve himself much in those positions. That comes with getting older and bigger, as well as, you guessed it, confidence. What Bergstrom does have is smarts. His positioning is solid, and he can read plays well. All he needs is more pop in his game, get more involved physically and have a better stick to pressure his opponents. 

If he can become more aggressive and work on using his stick more, he can be a solid defensive zone presence. Being one of the youngest players in the draft class gives him more time than the others to truly mature and take those next steps in his development. Getting bigger as well will allow him to have more success in tighter areas. It all comes down to confidence and maturity. 

Arvid Bergstrom’s Potential

Bergstrom is young, and it shows. He plays a timid game, mostly staying away from the physical side and not taking many risks in any zone. The team that takes Bergstrom, especially if it’s earlier than consensus, is betting on his youth and what can be unlocked with more confidence. It’s a fair bet, knowing where his game stands today and what needs to be worked on. 

That being said, he looks like a bottom pairing defender. If he can improve his defensive game, which seems likely given time, he can be more of a match-up guy. If he focuses more on puck moving and offensive abilities moving forward, he’s capable of being a second-team power play specialist that provides depth offence from the back end. 

NHL Comparison 

Based on style only, and not a projection of his skills, Bergstrom is comparable at this point to Calvin de Haan. de Haan, in his own right, is a solid defender due almost entirely to his smarts and straightforward game. Because he isn’t the most explosive presence with his puck moving and offensive game, he’s never been a big producer. However, he can defend well because of smarts and anticipation. De Haan also isn’t a very physical player either, using his stick more than his body to defend. Sound familiar to what was written earlier?

That sort of style that is effective but falls under the radar a bit is the sort of role Bergstrom could possess. Again, Bergstrom needs to work on his confidence, but if he does, he can become a better defensive presence. His size may never allow him to be very physical, but his awareness and anticipation is evident. Bergstrom has more offensive potential at this time than de Haan, but he could be a solid depth piece in the future. 

Raw stats via Elite Prospects

Main Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


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