With the 32nd Pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings Have Selected William Wallinder From MODO of the Allsvenskan.
About William Wallinder
A very strong and mobile defender, Wallinder has the skill set to do it all. Teams love defensemen who can join the rush and he does just that.
Wallinder has the ability to be an excellent puck mover, for a player at 6-foot-4 with a powerful shot, especially on the power play. His size makes him an intimidating force to go against as he is tough in front of the net and difficult to go up against. While he still needs time to develop, he has the makings to be a reliable player in the NHL.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“In a draft where most of the focus is on the plethora of enticing young forwards, defensemen like MODO’s William Wallinder may see a slight bump in stock for teams seeking to fill a need.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
One of the words scouts often use to describe the towering Swede is ‘raw’. You’re not going to walk down the street and see too many 6-foot-4 17-year-olds, but what makes Wallinder stand out, in particular, is his ability to accelerate and make plays at a high pace for such a big body. Those are the qualities that have caught the attention of NHL teams and rocketed him up draft rankings over the past year.
Scouts have had difficulty pinning where Wallinder might go in the draft, with some rankings listing him as a top-30 pick and others, like Future Considerations, listing him as low as 49th. But unlike his inconsistent classifications, Wallinder has played quite steadily as he has ascended through the top hockey leagues in Sweden.
Five assists in one game was all it took in the U-18 league this season before he was immediately promoted to the U-20. He played 37 games with MODO J20, tallying 5 goals and 24 points. Once again, the powerful defenseman was proving he was ready for the next level.
Finishing his season with MODO in Allsvenskan, the league just below the SHL, he collected 2 assists in 18 games, but that’s not quite indicative of any major struggles. In a league of grown men, Wallinder played far fewer minutes in a diminished role. It hurts his draft value that he hasn’t touched the SHL yet, like many other top Swedish prospects do, but that’s where the conversation shifts to his rawness and youth.
Wallinder skates exceptionally well for such a big guy. He also has deceptively quick hands with the puck, and boasts a heavy shot with a powerful release. He is comfortable quarterbacking a team’s power play, and his tendencies to shoot are backed up by the fact that he rarely misses the net or takes a risky shot that can set an opposition rush into motion.
Defensively, Wallinder knows how to use his size. He does well clearing the front of the net, which makes him a viable option on the penalty kill. He’s not afraid to get physical and go for a big hit, but his aggression can cause him to occasionally lose his positioning. He can also get caught cheating trying to start or join a potential rush before the puck has exited the zone.
Wallinder has some bite to his game, and often gets into scrums after the whistle in defense of himself or his teammates. Despite the snarl to his game, he does well to avoid sentencing, as he keeps his penalty minutes relatively low.
The standout of the left-handed defenseman’s game is his confidence with the puck. He has the speed, fluidity and stickhandling that’s typically uncommon in big defensemen. Because of his strong edges and ability to impact offensively and defensively, he became the anchor for his junior teams, where he often played north of 25 minutes a night.”
How This Affects the Red Wings’ Plans
After selecting Lucas Raymond fourth overall in the first round, the Red Wings continued to look to Sweden for another promising prospect.
Wallander brings excellent size and mobility to the Red Wings defensive prospect pool. With Moritz Seider on the rise and Dennis Cholowski seeing some game time this season, Wallinder is now in the mix to help lead the way on the backend. He still has to retool some aspects to his game, but the potential is their for him to make an impact down the line.
Hockey has been a big part of my life since watching my first Leafs game to currently coaching minor hockey. I previously interned at The Hockey News and worked on Toronto Marlies broadcasts for Rogers TV. Aside from hockey, I also enjoy drumming, animation and impressions/ voices.