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Swedish centre David Edstrom could be an enticing option early in the 2023 NHL Draft

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
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Over the course of the franchise’s history, the Calgary Flames have taken a lot of Swedish players at the NHL Draft. But historically, they’ve worked out quite a bit for the club, with three prominent current players – Mikael Backlund, Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington – being draft picks from Sweden.
He may be a bit of a reach at 16th overall, but two-way Swedish centre David Edstrom could be an enticing player early in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Scouting report

A product of Gothenberg, Sweden, Edstrom is a February 2005 birthday. He’s listed at 6’3″ and 187 pounds, and he’s a left shot forward who plays centre.
Edstrom worked his way through the Hovas HC system, then moved to Frolunda HC in 2020-21. He’s one of those players who’s played several years above his age group – he played in Sweden’s under-16 league 13-year-old season, for instance. He spent his 16-year-old season (2021-22) split between Sweden’s under-16 and under-20 leagues, and split his 17-year-old season (2022-23) split between the under-20 league and the Swedish Hockey League. As he’s moved up in the ranks, he’s leaned more on his two-way savvy and less on his scoring production.
Over at Dobber Prospects, Sebastian High wrote this assessment of Edstrom’s game:
Edstrom had a few flashes of an impressive power game at the U18 Men’s World Championship, and his stock rose as a result, but his NHL projection remains limited in upside. He is not overly dynamic, creative, or aware. His scanning habits are a significant limiting factor at this point in time, but if this can be rectified, a third-line ceiling could be unlocked. He’s not a poor skater and he processes passing options quickly when pressured, which plays a vital role in his NHL projectability. Doubling down on his physical and playmaking games in his development would make him a more cohesive player with an identifiable NHL role.
After the men’s Under-18 World Championships, FC Hockey’s Aaron Vickers wrote this as part of his scouting update:
Edstrom, unranked at FCHockey’s midterm, was a key cog for Sweden in all three zones in the tournament riding shotgun to Stenberg. He checked well, helped generate possession, touched on both special teams units, and managed to produce nine points (five goals, four assists) in seven games, fully putting on display his two-way game that’ll have teams wondering ‘how high is too high’ for the 200-foot center who boasts impressive size and a frame to build on.
The only blemish on Edstrom was a momentary mental lapse late in the third period that put Team USA on the power play to tie the gold medal game, and eventually win it in the extra frame.
Still, seven games of work should trump several seconds of error for Edstrom.
(Edstrom had an assist taken away later on.)
The consensus from the various scouting reports we consulted indicate that Edstrom is a rock-solid 200-foot player. He’s solid in all three zones, but he doesn’t seem to be overly dynamic. But he’s smart, is tall, and has played above his age group for years and years and been able to produce offensively and perform well defensively. The traits he has seem likely to convince scouts that he’s got a solid developmental floor as a bottom-six centre, perhaps even a third liner. But his lack of dynamism, so far, may limit his ceiling.

The numbers

Edstrom played for Frolunda HC in three different levels in 2022-23, and also represented Sweden at two major tournaments.
He played seven games in the under-18 circuit, registering 13 points. He played 28 games in the under-20 league, registering 28 points. And he played his first-ever pro games, suiting up 11 times in the SHL and registering four points.
He ranked 13th among under-18 regular players in Sweden’s under-20 league in points and 10th in points per game. He was tied for third among under-18 players in the SHL in points. (Relative to his age group in the leagues he played in, he stacks up well. He’s not the best, but he’s up there.)
Internationally, Edstrom played for Sweden at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup (four points in five games, silver medal) and the men’s Under-18 World Championships (eight points in seven games, silver medal). He didn’t lead his team in scoring in either tournament, but he was fourth in points for Sweden in both of them. Like with his performance relative to his age group in the SHL and J20 Nationell, he’s not the best, but he’s reliably pretty good.

Availability and fit

So what’s the fit? Well, Edstrom is a tall, toolsy, two-way Swedish centre. He’s played in major tournaments for his country, and he’s held his own in some of the best European leagues, both as a junior and as a pro. But the challenge for the Flames may be his perceived lack of high-end upside. He could be seen as a low-risk, relatively low-reward selection, unfortunately.
Some public rankings have Edstrom as a first-rounder: FC Hockey has him 28th, FloHockey has him 23rd and McKeen’s has him 31st. He’s otherwise typically ranked in the second-round mix, usually in the early-to-mid 40s. The scouting consensus seems to be that he’s a bit of a reach when the Flames select in the first round at 16th overall, but he would be a good fit, depending on who else is available, in the second round at 48th overall.

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