The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft will take place on July 23. Following the results of the draft lottery, the Flames hold the 12th overall selection and will have a chance to add a high-end prospect to their organization.
A few things that NHL scouts tend to love include defensemen with size, Swedish defensemen, and defensemen that can move the puck well. Simon Edvinsson falls right into the overlap between all three categories in hockey’s Venn diagram, and that’s made him one of the more exciting prospects in the 2021 NHL Draft class.
There’s a lot to like about Edvinsson. He’s listed at 6’5″ and 207 pounds. He’s a left shot defender hailing from Onsala, Sweden, a coastal town south of Gothenberg. He’s a February 2003 birthday, so he turned 18 about two-thirds of the way through the hockey season.
Edvinsson has bounced around from team to team over the past several seasons, but he found a home with Frolunda’s organization in 2018-19. He spent the 2020-21 season split between Frolunda’s J20 Nationell and SHL clubs, as well as on loan to HockeyAllsvenskan’s Vasteras IK, better known as Mikael Backlund’s hometown team.
Over at Smaht Scouting, Alexander Appleyard detailed one aspect of Edvinsson’s game he’s high on: the Swede’s mobility and physical tools:
His game is built around his physical skill-set. Edvinsson skates so smoothly that he appears languid on ice, yet still blazes past players six inches smaller than him on a regular basis. This translates beautifully when it comes to rushing up ice. His transition game really is something to behold. When he gets the puck on his stick in the defensive zone opposition forwards stomachs go into their throats. And that is understandable. In stride he can scythe through a neutral zone trap as though it is simply beneath him. There really is an air of condescension at times from Edvinsson when he has the puck on his stick, and who can blame him? There are not many players in Swedish juniors who have the ability to stop him fairly once he decides to go.
Steve Kournianos of the Draft Analyst highlighted a wart in his game, in the risk/reward factor of his decision-making:
From a puck-possession standpoint, Edvinsson clearly shows high intelligence in the manner in which he executes breakouts and keeps things organized in the offensive zone. But playing smart, composed hockey off the puck over a full 60 minutes is something he had difficulty doing for most of this season. He has had several performances where’s he’s been among the best players on the ice for the first 40 minutes, only to lose focus (and the faith of his coach) in critical moments. Edvinsson’s best play has been saved for the international level, which makes sense considered it’s against his peers. Nonetheless, Edvinsson is both a massive risk taker and a rover who when choosing to activate or step up has had both positive and negative implications on the team game, sometimes all within a three or four shift sequence.
In short, there’s a lot of things to love about Edvinsson. He’s got size, mobility, and the ability to move the puck. He’s played pro hockey and was able to move the needle. He could be a bigger, better version of Oliver Kylington, albeit with some similar concerns regarding his defensive game and his decision-making with the puck at times.
Like a lot of Swedish players, Edvinsson bounced around a little bit this past season due to the junior season ending in November and forcing organizations to shuffle around their under-20 players quite a bit. As a result of all of the chaos, he played in three different leagues.
- In the J20 Nationell, Edvinsson had six points in 14 games. He was tied for 42nd among all defensemen in points and was tied for seventh among all under-18 defensemen.
- In the SHL, he had one point in 10 games. He was one of just two under-18 defensemen to register a point. Fellow 2021 prospect Anton Olsson had four points in 39 games, scoring at basically the same rate as Edvinsson.
- In the Allsvenskan, he had five points in 14 games. He was second in under-18 scoring overall, first among defensemen, and was one of just three under-18 defenders to register a point in the league.
For whatever reason, Edvinsson just seemed to produce better, relative to his peer group, when he was playing pro hockey rather than junior hockey. (This happens sometimes, as occasionally players think or react too quickly for junior hockey but are right at the pace of the pro game.)
Availability and fit
The good news is there’s a lot to love about Edvinsson that would make him a prototypical Flames pick. He’s physically mature. He’s smart. He’s skilled. He’s Swedish. He played for Backlund’s hometown team in Vasteras. Based on the Flames’ European scouting continent, led by Hakan Loob, it’s likely that the club would feel like they know a lot about the kid.
The bad news is: there are 11 teams selecting before the Flames, and the qualities they likely laud Edvinsson for make him unlikely to fall to 12th overall.
Here’s a snapshot of where the major draft evaluators have Edvinsson relative to the rest of the 2021 class:
McKeen’s Hockey — 11th
Future Considerations — 2nd
The Athletic (Corey Pronman) — 12th
Dobber Prospects — 7th
TSN (Bob McKenzie) — 2nd
Draft Prospects Hockey — 11th
NHL Central Scouting (European Skaters) — 2nd
Recruit Scouting — 14th
EliteProspects.com — 8th
Smaht Scouting — 6th
On our internal consensus rankings – updated as major rankings update – Edvinsson projects around seventh overall, well ahead of the Flames’ pick.
2021 First Round Targets
Matthew Coronato | Aatu Räty | Mason McTavish | Kent Johnson | Chaz Lucius | Dylan Guenther | Jesper Wallstedt | Corson Ceulemans | Fabian Lysell | Fyodor Svechkov | Oskar Olausson | Logan Stankoven | Simon Robertsson | Cole Sillinger | Isak Rosen