2022-23 Team: Malmö Redhawks (SHL)
Date of Birth: Jul. 04, 2005
Place of Birth: Malmö, SWE
Ht: 6-foot-3 Wt: 194 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 30th (among EU skaters)
- Future Considerations: 92nd
- Peter Baracchini’s April Rankings: 55th
- SMAHT Scouting: 63rd
- Bob McKenzie’s Rankings: HM
- Dobber Prospects Mid- Season Rankings: 47th
There are always players in the draft that seem to come out of nowhere and make an impression with their play to improve their draft stock. Malmö Redhawks centre Anton Wahlberg is definitely one of those players that has caught the eye of many and has vaulted up draft boards since January. It’s clear to see why.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
Wahlberg had strong production this season at the J20 level with 27 points in 32 games, showing great potential within his age group. When he was given a promotion to the SHL, he started to show even more initiative and was extremely motivated.
Wahlberg is a strong and impactful two-way centre that fits the mold of a prototypical power forward that could excel in today’s game. He uses his size effectively to his advantage and is constantly engaging in battles to regain possession of the puck. He has good mobility for his size and displays a strong work ethic every single shift. There are rarely moments where takes one off and is always making his presence felt on both sides of the puck.
Wahlberg has the tenacity and physicality to make life miserable for the opposition. He can get in quickly to establish a forecheck, constantly battle along the boards and is difficult to contain on the cycle, shielding the puck effectively and driving hard to the middle of the ice. He may not have the quickest first few steps, but when he hits his stride, he can move swiftly through the neutral zone in transition to lead an attack. While he doesn’t have the best hands, he can still make timely moves and dekes at the right moment to create a play. Wahlberg can be a problem in tight, providing a strong presence and creating havoc in front of the net or from far out as he has a strong and accurate wrist shot.
Wahlberg has great awareness with the puck, finding the open lanes and driving hard with his strength and conviction. He has the instincts to know what to do as the situation unfolds. When there’s a scoring opportunity, he will take it. When there’s a lane to make a pass, he will make a crisp and accurate feed. Even without the puck, he can always find those spaces easily to receive an outlet pass or sneak in undetected to be a trailing option for a quick shot on net.
Defensively, he’s just as strong as he’s very responsible in the neutral zone and in his own end. He’s quick to help on the back check and has the ability to break up plays and create turnovers with his positioning. He does a great job at tracking down the puck carrier, applying pressure to cut them off and force them to make a mistake.
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The biggest question mark could be his production at the next level, as his production through the junior levels has been up and down. However, given his high-end compete level and ability to work hard every shift, that could be a big reason why the points will come at the next level. His ability to score goals in different areas on the ice and being an underrated playmaker will make him an effective secondary scorer.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Anton Wahlberg- NHL Draft Projection
To start the draft year, Wahlberg was an unknown prospect. As the season progressed, many started to take note of his overall skillset. During the second half of the season, he has continued to improve his stock and his play at the U18 World Championship proved that he’s definitely worth being a second-round selection. Ideally, he could be a player to take in the middle or late second round, but don’t be surprised to see a team take a swing on him and select him earlier.
“Wahlberg tilts the ice in his team’s favour in just about every facet of the game apart from playmaking. He’s a sound defensive player who has flashed impressive tenacity and intensity on the fore and backcheck at times this season. He’s a strong skater, especially for his size, and is a very good puck carrier through the neutral zone.” – Sebastian High, Dobber Prospects
“Wahlberg’s offensive game is highlighted by his high-end shot and anticipation skills. He has a quick and snappy release on his shot, allowing him to get the puck off his stick in a hurry, and can generate plenty of power off his release.” – Brandon Holmes, FC Hockey (from, ‘24704 – Slovakia vs. Sweden’, FC Hockey – 04/23/23)
Latest News & Highlights
“He’s learned to play a more calculated, mature game with more of a focus on the finer details. Over time, he’s adapted quite well and started to produce points after his recent promotion to the top six. He continues to take strides defensively as well, and has shown he can be a useful two-way forward.” – SpokedZ, SMAHT Scouting
- Situational Awareness
- Compete level and work ethic
- Strong two-way and transitional game
- Strong release and shot
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
- Offensive production translatable to next level?
- Work on quickness on first few steps
Wahlberg projects to be an impactful centre who can play in any situation. His two-way game alone would appeal to many teams. While he will need some time to develop and iron out some aspects in his game, it’ll be worth it in the end. His intense style of play along with his goalscoring abilities makes him a threat at five-on-five and on the powerplay. As a result of his defensive game, he could see minutes on the penalty kill as well, making him an extremely reliable prospect.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 1/5, Reward 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense- 6.5/10, Defense 7.5/10
Wahlberg has already represented Sweden at multiple events during his draft year. He won a bronze medal at the World Jr. A Championship as well as a silver medal at the World U18 Championship.