2020-21 Team: Lulea HF
Date of Birth: November 14, 2002
Place of Birth: Västerås, Sweden
Ht: 6-foot-3 Wt: 214 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 1st (amongst EU goaltenders)
- Future Considerations: 7th
- Recruit Scouting: 12th
- Peter Baracchini’s March Rankings: 9th
- Andrew Forbes’ February Rankings: 6th
- Matthew Zator’s April Rankings: 8th
- Smaht Scouting: 8th
- Bob McKenzie’s Rankings: 10th
- Dobber Prospects Mid- Season Rankings: 4th
Following 2020 NHL Draft standout Yaroslav Askarov, Swedish goaltender Jesper Wallstedt will look to become the next big goaltending prospect to come out of the European circuit. He could actually become even bigger than Askarov when all is said and done. Yes, he’s that good. All the superlatives you can think of apply to Wallstedt. He’s quick laterally, strong on his skates, almost perfect technically, and finally, never gives up on a play. He’s also calm as a cucumber, possesses a lightning-quick glove hand, and can handle the puck efficiently outside of his crease. Basically, what I am saying is, there are not many weaknesses to his game.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Playing in the SHL at 18-years-old is amazing in itself, but when you excel there too, a whole other level is reached. When you consider that there has never been a Swedish goaltender drafted during the first-round in NHL history, let alone the top-10, the allure of Wallstedt gets even higher. Needless to say, he’s a pretty rare commodity.
Looking to become the first goaltender to be selected in the top-10 since superstar Carey Price, Wallstedt oozes franchise netminder potential. In fact, a lot of what was said about Price in his draft year can be said about Wallstedt, especially when it comes to how calm he is in the crease. He had a tremendous season playing for Lulea HF, posting a sparkling 2.23 goals-against average (GAA) and .908 save percentage to go along with two shutouts. He usurped regular starter David Rautio later in the season, but struggled a bit in the playoffs, giving way to 28-year-old Joel Lassinanti.
Next season, Walstedt will almost certainly take over the starting duties full time both in Lulea and for Team Sweden at the 2022 World Junior Championship. As great as he is right now, he’s probably not ready for a starting position in the NHL at this point. Most goaltenders, even the franchise ones like Price, needed time at the AHL level and as a backup to a veteran before they were ready for the crease full time. He will likely take the same path before his greatness is realized with whichever team is fortunate enough to select him in July.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Jesper Wallstedt – NHL Draft Projection
Wallstedt has been discussed as being selected as high as first overall to as low as 17th. It’s very rare to see a goaltender climb to the top of the mountain, but with the rarity of his breed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do just that. Even if he doesn’t go first overall, I don’t expect him to still be around after the top ten.
“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.” – Benn Kerr, Last Word on Hockey
“On top of his mental game and technical prowess, Wallstedt also has one of the best gloves you will see for a young goalie. Often, this aspect of a net-minders game can take the longest time to develop…with Wallstedt’s technically ability, alongside fantastic hand-eye coordination, he plucks the puck out of the air with ease, even on shots that are hard and accurate. His glove-work through traffic is also a joy to behold as he tracks the puck and shuts play down inside his Bauer trapper.” – Alexander Appleyard, Smaht Scouting
“Calm, cool and collected, Wallstedt is excellent positionally and highly poised in the net. As the puck approaches his net he comes out to the top of his crease and does well to stay with the play positionally. His awareness of the play is also something that stands out and is an elite part of his game.” – Dylan Galloway, FC Hockey
- Mental game
- Glove hand
- Lateral quickness
- Playing the puck
- Overall strength
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
Wallstedt has the potential to be a franchise goaltender in the NHL. Almost every attribute he has screams dominant, elite, Vezina Trophy caliber netminder. In a few years, we will be talking about him in the same breath as Andrei Vasilevsky, Connor Hellebuyck, and the like.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 5/5
Wallstedt played for Team Sweden at the 2021 World Junior Championship (WJC), and although his team didn’t walk away with a medal, he was very strong in the net during the two starts he received. He also won a bronze medal at the 2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and a gold medal at the 2019 U18 WJC.
Jesper Wallstedt Statistics
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, media editor, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.