The Detroit Red Wing’s William Wallinder is one of the most raw, high-ceiling low-floor prospects in the entire organization. Let’s take a closer look.
MoDo Hockey J-20 (HockeyAllsvenskan Junior)
Games played: 4
MoDo Hockey (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Games played: 43
Left Shot Defenseman
While Wallinder didn’t quite (yet) have his breakout season, 2020-21 was a solid progression in his career. Playing with MoDo Hockey’s U-20 team to start the year, Wallinder quickly proved he was too good for the minors, scoring a couple goals and tacking on four assists in just four games.
Wallinder played a majority of the season with MoDo’s pro team in Sweden’s second best hockey league, HockeyAllsvenskan. There, Wallinder struggled a bit to adjust, scoring just a goal and five assists in 43 games.
So what makes Wallinder one of the best prospects in the Red Wings pipeline? The raw talent is still very much there. Wallinder’s skating is fantastic, especially considering his 6-foor-4 frame. He’s especially effective in transition, as his puck control combined with his speed and size make clean zone entries surprisingly easy.
Although he doesn’t quite have the production to show it, Wallinder has an impressive offensive toolkit. Mobility aside, he just looks comfortable with the puck. Wallinder stays cool, calm and collected as he maintains possession, skating around and waiting for a good time to activate the offense.
Sometimes this can come back to bite, as more aggressive forechecking can occasionally force unnecessary turnovers. If Wallinder can adjust his time of possession just a bit, this could be one of his greater assets as a defenseman.
Here’s a more recent example of his exceptional vision:
Wallinder can create high-danger chances and break-away’s with tape-to-tape passes from his own defensive zone. He has great vision down the ice and can see lanes for his forwards opening well before opponents can spot it. While it wasn’t so much a pass here, this is another example of his vision where he starts the offensive chance that results in a goal.
Wallinder, like many of Detroit’s prospects, has a huge upside. He still needs a good amount of development, as he adjusts his skills to better leagues. He’s set to join Rogle BK in the SHL this season (A team Red Wings fans should be familiar with at this point, as this is where Moritz Seider developed last year), likely starting in the junior leagues. Unless there’s a breakout season from Wallinder, there’s a chance Steve Yzerman keeps him in the SHL for yet another season, which would keep him in Europe until 2023. When he’s brought over to North America, it’s likely Wallinder will start in Grand Rapids instead of the Red Wings.
The estimate of 2024-25 might be a bit conservative for some. In fact, Wallinder could prove me wrong as soon as next year. However, he still looks so raw on tape. There are times where he looks like he could start in the NHL tomorrow, and then there are moments where he looks years off. It might take a bit more years than others for Wallinder to develop into a true NHL player, but if he gets there, he could be a lethal addition to the developing blue line.