2022-23 Team: Frölunda HC J20 (J20 Nationell)
Date of Birth: February 18, 2005
Place of Birth: Göteborg, Sweden
Height: 6-foot-3, Weight: 187 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First Year Eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters): 25th
- Elite Prospects: 67th
- TSN/Craig Button: 67th
- The Athletic/Pronman: 18th
- THW (Horn): 37th
David Edstrom is a big, two-way center who has been slowly rising up draft boards all year with his play in Sweden’s top junior league. After a successful regular season, Edstrom joined team Sweden at the U18 World Junior Championship (WJC) where he was excellent as the center on Sweden’s top line. His performance there has rocketed him up many draft rankings (mine included), and given him a real chance at being drafted in the first round in June.
Edstrom is responsible defensively, competing hard on the back-check and making good plays with his long reach. He is also quite effective in puck battles along the boards, though he would do well to add a bit more muscle to his big frame as it would improve his ability to box out opponents in such battles. Killing penalties is another area of strength for Edstrom, and his skating is good enough that he projects to kill penalties in the NHL someday.
There’s more to his game than defense though, with good hands and a great mind that allows him to play at a very quick pace that many young players of his size struggle with. He’s not a flashy offensive player, but he makes small, smart plays regularly that free up his teammates to take more risks. If Edstrom can put on a bit more muscle in the next few years, he will likely be a two-way force who is incredibly difficult to knock off the puck.
Edstrom is what I like to call a “snowplow”. A snowplow is a player who does a ton of the hard work and makes the game that much easier for his linemates. Forechecking, puck battles, intercepting passes, making plays under pressure to give his teammates more space, these are all the type of thing that Edstrom excels at and it makes him a super easy player to play with. If Edstrom can succeed in those areas in the NHL, he will free up his line mates to take big risks offensively while still keeping the line relatively safe on defence.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
In 28 J20 games this season, Edstrom scored 28 points, good enough for 13th among all U18 players despite playing 15-20 fewer games than most of his competition. Why did he miss so many games you may be asking? Well, Edstrom spent 11 games with his SHL club, scoring two goals and four points in limited ice time. At the U18 WJC, Edstrom was a two-way beast for Sweden, scoring five goals and eight points in seven games.
Other THW Draft Profiles
David Edstrom – NHL Draft Projection
Before the U18s, it seemed like Edstrom was likely going to be selected in the second round, with a chance of sliding even further, but now the first round seems much more likely. Big centermen who succeed on both ends of the ice are always in high-demand and I expect he will be drafted in the mid-20s on day one of the draft. If he can improve his offense and fill out his frame a bit, Edstrom would profile pretty similarly to Joel Eriksson Ek, who is a great two-way center in the NHL.
“Edstrom is good around the net, kills penalties, wins a lot of battles and makes enough plays with the puck to produce good offensive numbers.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (2023 NHL Draft top prospects: Bedard No. 1, Smith rises in Pronman’s May ranking, May 3, 2023)
“Edstrom is an intriguing center who touches all elements of the game with above-average play. All his traits seems to be plus qualities, though at the same time he doesn’t necessarily stand out with a lot of flash or pizzaz.” – Aaron Vickers, FC Hockey
- Defensive game
- Offensive play in front of the net
- Good skating
- Great under pressure
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Gaining muscle would improve his physical game considerably
- Maybe build a bit more skill into his game
Edstrom has the potential to be a top-six center in the NHL if he takes a large leap forward offensively, with a much more likely NHL role as a middle-six center who plays tough defensive minutes while providing enough depth scoring to justify playing on both special teams units.
Risk – 1.5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 5/10, Defense – 8/10
Awards & Achievements
- 2022/23: Hlinka Gretzky Cup Silver Medal
- 2022/23: U18 WJC Silver Medal