2022-23 Team: Djurgårdens IF J20 (Sweden-Jr.)
Date of Birth: June 12, 2005
Place of Birth: Södertälje, Sweden
Height: 5-foot-11, Weight: 163 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-Year Eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters): 54th
- Peter Baracchini (THW): 64th
- FC Hockey: 93rd
- Smaht Scouting: 64th
Arvid Bergstrom had one of the most decorated seasons a draft-eligible prospect could have. He won a silver medal at the 2022-23 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, falling 4-1 to the dominant Canadians, then won a silver medal at the 2023 World Junior Championship in a tightly fought 3-2 loss to the Americans. He also won a bronze medal at the U19 World Junior A Challenge and, back home with Djurgårdens IF, he played in the bronze medal game with the U20 squad, was re-assigned to the U18 team, then won the silver medal there. That’s a lot of high-pressure games to play in a relatively short period.
Related: The Hockey Writers’ 2023 NHL Draft Guide
However, when it came time to the individual awards, Bergstrom came home with nothing, which was to be expected. He’s not a dominant, in-your-face presence like his international teammate Axel Sandin Pellikka, who regularly puts up highlight-reel-worthy plays. Nor is he a wonder to watch like his Hlinka Gretzky defence partner Tom Willander, who has been called one of the best skaters of his draft class, although Bergstrom is no slouch on his feet.
Instead, Bergstrom plays a smart, quiet game that thrives on transition and puck movement. He’s an excellent example of a modern defenseman who can out-think his opponents. He can move the puck as well as carry it up the ice with speed and is rarely caught by a forechecker simply because he can see the ice so well. While that has the negative side effect of making him somewhat invisible to fans and analysts, it’s made him an invaluable member of many teams, especially in important games.
The only issue is that, despite Bergstrom’s skill with the puck, the offensive numbers just haven’t followed. With Djurgårdens U20 team, he finished second among defensemen with 23 points, just two of which were goals, in 41 games. In U18 competition, he finished fourth among defensemen with five points in 19 games. Scouts likely hoped to see more production from the talented prospect, which could hurt his draft stock.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Arvid Bergstrom – NHL Draft Projection
Although he hasn’t cracked many top-100 lists yet, Bergstrom was given a boost by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service, which moved him up from 71st in the midterm report to 54th. However, that may not mean much on draft day; the NHL still prizes blueliners who stand over 6-foot, and those that fall below that, no matter how skilled, will slip down the charts. That’s all but guaranteed to happen to Bergstrom, but all that means is that someone is going to end up with a great defensive prospect late in the draft.
“Arvid Bergström is a shifty mobile puck-moving defenseman, who defends rather well but at a distance. He is more of a reactive defenseman but does use his positioning well when defending against the rush to force dump and chases. Bergström has good acceleration that he leverages to get to loose pucks cleanly. Should he encounter a heave forecheck, he’s shown that he can use pivots to shake free and complete a zone exit pass. Bergström does need to work on closing out gaps quicker as sometimes he ends up giving a bit too much room. In the offensive zone, Bergström should start looking to utilize his mobility and speed while pinching to drive pucks into the slot.” – Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting
Latest News & Highlights
“Bergstrom has been one of the more steadily improving players in the class. He’s an excellent skater who could be one of the class’ better transition defenders. [He] understands how to read defensive structure in the neutral zone, exploiting lanes with his passing and skating ability. The point totals haven’t impressed, but he’s been a steady producer with the tools to continue developing offensively. Much like [Tom] Wallinder shows flashes of puck skill, Bergstrom shows that he could find a niche as an excellent transition blueliner who takes care of the puck despite not being a lethal offensive presence.” – Tony Ferrari, The Hockey News
- Skating and mobility
- Able to make quick decisions under pressure
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Offensive contributions
- Need to add strength and muscle
Bergstrom will need some time to build up some muscle, so don’t expect him to leave Sweden any time soon. When he does, however, there’s a good chance that he’ll develop into a player like Washington Capitals’ defender Nick Jensen, a player who has built his career on being a smart, steady presence who does all the little things right. NHL teams love those kinds of players, and even though it won’t earn him a lot of recognition, it will almost certainly guarantee him a job for many years to come.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 4/10, Defense – 7/10