Filip Berglund played in his first SHL (Sweden’s top league) game today and by math and by eye it looks like he is off to a very good start to his season.
BERGLUND’S SHL CAREER
- The key number here is time on ice, Berglund is playing a regular shift and clearly increasing his role over one year ago. It’s just one game, but looks like the coach valued what he brought.
- The boxcars have been shy during his SHL career, but the Vollman NHL equivalency for SHL (.58) had his NHLE at 82gp, 0-9-9 a year ago. Considering Berglund was playing 9.5 minutes a night, seems reasonable his projection might be around 20 points by year’s end.
SWEDISH POSTER UPDATE
- Swedish Poster: “Filip Berglund played 16 minutes on the third pairing in Skellefteås first SHL game of the season. They won 2-1 and he was -1. The consensus seems to be that while last season he looked like a young player trying to keep up with the big boys, this season he looks like an actual real live SHL player, not dominant but looking like he belongs. Which is progress and a good point to start, hopefully we can see some in season development when he feels more comfortable.”
- More Swedish Poster: “He could have done a better job on the GA. Did well defending a zone entry with a Larssonesque hip check but ended up on the wrong side of the guy scoring the goal on a lucky bounce, not a big mistake but he should have gotten back in a better position after his first hit. Still a minor thing.”
Filip Berglund occupies an important spot in the Oilers prospect pool, for a few reasons. He’s a righty two-way defenseman, who may arrive with enough offensive and defensive acumen to play a top 4D role someday. He was chosen in the third round with two other defenders (Markus Niemelainen, Matthew Cairns) and frankly both men have mixed arrows so far in their post-draft careers.
Finally, Berglund will probably arrive next fall and play in Bakersfield beginning 2018-19. He’ll be 21 at that time and may be closer to NHL-ready than Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear are now. I expect Peter Chiarelli is going to trade some of these defensive prospects soon, maybe even in the coming weeks before this season. Berglund’s ability to push up as a prospect is a badly needed good sign.
It’s one game, but Berglund’s back story suggested a step forward was likely. We will track progress all winter, early signs are positive.