Over the course of the last two seasons, the Edmonton Oilers have been building future depth on the blue line.
In the 2016 and 2017 NHL Entry Drafts, the Oilers took a handful of promising defencemen. From puck-movers to stay-at-home blueliners, Edmonton has an arsenal of blueliners that ensure stability and defensive depth for years to come.
One player that packs a lot of promise and potential is 2016 draft pick Filip Berglund. Berglund was taken in the third round at 91st overall. The 20-year-old plays in Sweden, mainly with the J20 SuperElit League and the SHL; the J20 SuperElit League is the highest league of junior hockey in Sweden, and the SHL is the highest level of professional hockey in Sweden.
Berglund by the Numbers
In his pre-draft season in 2015-16, Berglund played with Skelleftea AIK J20, serving as an alternate captain. Through 43 games, he finished with 19 goals and 41 points and was a plus-8. He also finished the entire year with just six penalty minutes.
This past season, Berglund spent time playing in the J20 SuperElit League and the SHL. He played 10 games with the SuperElit’s Skelleftea AIK J20 team, putting up three goals and seven points through 10 games. After that stint, Berglund played 47 games with the SHL’s Seklleftea AIK, recording nine assists and a plus-2 rating.
Looking at his game and his numbers, Berglund is able to play a solid game at both ends of the rink and contribute offensively, while he prioritizes his own zone and plays a sound defensive game.
On-Ice Performance and Potential
Berglund thrives as a big, two-way defenceman who can perform well at different levels. He is a good passer and has solid vision, and is able to take good care of the puck. Not only that, but Berglund has an underrated shot from the point and offensive acumen, meaning that he can develop into a power-play quarterback throughout his career.
While the 6-foot-3, 209-pound blueliner thrives when it comes to offensive acumen and solid play in his own zone, he needs to get faster and improve his skating. This will help him better match up with his opponents, as well as make him a stronger defender. Not only that, he has the perfect frame for the NHL level but does not throw his weight around as much as he should. If he wants to make it to the NHL, Berglund will have to increase his physicality so he can win battles for the puck and stack up well against his opponents.