Red Wings draft pick William Wallinder: ‘Feels good’ to go to Detroit

Detroit News

Ted Kulfan
 
| The Detroit News

Detroit — Sure enough, it was a guy many scouts projected to go higher.

With the first pick of the second round Wednesday, the Red Wings selected defenseman William Wallinder, a player many NHL mock drafts had going in the first round.

“Of course I was nervous,” Wallinder said of waiting around Wednesday, during a Zoom interview with reporters. “But I was not too upset. I know it doesn’t matter if you go in the first or second rounds. There’s a lot of good players, and the only thing that matters is what you do after the draft. You still keep working hard and going for it. You can’t stop working because you didn’t go in the first round.

“So it really doesn’t matter (where you are drafted); it just feels good to be a player for the Detroit Red Wings.”

Wallinder admitted he had plenty of communication with the Wings through the process, so he had an inkling they were interested.

“I talked to them (a lot),” Wallinder said. “I could see it coming, and it feels good.”

A 6-foot-4 191-pound defenseman who was generally rated in the top-20 of most mock drafts, Wallinder is a mobile defenseman who is stronger offensively than defensively. but will be given time to mature and grow physically.

“I’m working a lot on my positioning in the defensive zone,” Wallinder said. “I have improved it a lot and I’m just trying to get better at things. That’s important, to be good at everything.”

More: Niyo: Everybody loves Raymond, but especially the Red Wings

Wallinder is the second consecutive Swede chosen by the Wings, having picked forward Lucas Raymond Tuesday with their first-round selection.

Not to mention, the long list of Hall of Fame-caliber Swedish players who have played for the Wings, including defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.

“I know about them, I watched them when I was younger,” Wallinder said. “Everyone knows who Lidstrom is; he’s the best Swedish defenseman who ever played.”

The Wings have two more second-round picks Wednesday, and 10 overall, after trading their No. 45 pick overall in the second round to the Los Angeles Kings, for the Kings’ 51st pick (2nd round) and 97th pick (4th round).

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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