We simply cannot stop talking about defensemen around here, apparently. Next up on the board we have Simon Edvinsson, a Swedish left shot defenseman, and also one of the more polarizing players in this top prospect group. Edvinsson is a bit of a project, and scouts are divided on just how high his ceiling is, and what his chances are of reaching it, but the fact also remains that he possesses one of the more dynamic toolkits of this same top prospect group, and all of that makes him an intriguing name to watch.
BSH 2021 Community Draft Board, No. 7: Simon Edvinsson
Team: Frölunda HC J20 (J20 Nationell), Västerås IK (HockeyAllesvenskan), Frölunda HC (SHL)
Statistics: 1 G, 5 A in 14 GP (J20 Nationell). 0 G, 5 A in 14 GP (HockeyAllsvenskan). 0 G, 1 A in 10 GP (SHL).
No. 2 (EU skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 2 by Future Considerations
No. 7 by Dobber Prospects
No. 6 by Wheeler/The Athletic (midseason)
What’s there to like?
The obvious first standout about Edvinsson is his size—he’s listed at 6’4”, and while he still has some filling out to do, that height is already a major asset to him. The frame obviously makes him quite imposing, and helps him in his defensive game as well, as he’s able to use his long strides and stick to gap up well and force turnovers. There’s a certain aggressiveness to his game, and that comes through in a lot of areas, but we certainly see it in the way that he puts pressure on opponents on the defensive side.
The real area where we see him at his most impactful is in transition. Edvinsson is a very good skater, not just for his size, but in general. His speed is pretty good, but he’s really strong on his edges, making him quick and elusive in avoiding pressure from defenders. His backwards skating is also a real strength, and it allows him to have a little bit more wiggle room in his game—that is, if he makes a more aggressive play and it ends up being a mistake, and he needs to turn around quickly and get back to defend. He recovers well and is well equipped to erase those mistakes with his rush defense. And all of this is working quite well for him, and it’s a good thing, because Edvinsson has a real willingness and comfort to be the one to break the puck out of the defensive zone himself and lead the rush himself.
And as far as the offensive game goes, there are certainly some tools there. Edvinsson has good instincts and a confidence in trying to make plays, and there’s a real creativity that we’ve seen from him. His shot is okay, and he’s already shown a strength in being able to get it through traffic to create rebounds. And while that’s working, Edvinsson isn’t just a perimeter player, as he shows an equal willingness to activate in the offensive zone to go looking for a more dangerous scoring chance.
Overall, there’s just a real confidence to his game, and that’s something that’s quite appealing.
What’s not to like?
There are some smaller nitpicks we could make about his game—his shot isn’t really anything to write home about, and he could still stand to bulk up a bit more he’s 6’4” but just 198 pounds—but the big concern when it comes to Edvinsson really boils down to his hockey IQ. His physical tools are undeniable, and they’ve allowed him to flash some really stellar playmaking looks. But that’s the thing—it’s just been in flashes. Because, yes, there have been some really strong positives from his season and from his game, but we’ve also seen him make some lapses that are concerning. He can lack decisiveness, holding onto the puck for too long when a play was already available, or conversely, he can try to do too much or be too aggressive and then get himself into trouble when a play blows up on him.
And this inserts a bit of risk into this pick, because it’s hard to parse out whether it would just be a matter of refining his game and working on his risk management to get him to fully actualize his potential, or if this is just the reality of what he’s going to be as a player—someone who’s tremendously physically gifted and has the ability to create offense and push play positively, but who is also going to fall victim to some ugly gaffes from time to time. It would certainly be a stretch to suggest that these concerns are wholly damning stuff, but they do remain question marks, and something teams will have to weigh alongside his upside.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
The Flyers really aren’t in a position where they’re coming into this draft feeling like they absolutely need to fill out their pipeline at defense, particularly on the left side, so Edvinsson wouldn’t really fill a position of extreme need. That said, the Flyers are in a position where they could take on a player who’s a bit more of a project if they feel really confident that they can develop him right and smooth out the kinks in his game. Will they feel comfortable taking that risk? That’s another question entirely, but the fact remains that Edvinsson’s toolkit is an enticing one, and he would add a very nice boost of skill and mobility to a team, and that’s a hard thing to imagine passing up.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
Understandably, there’s a bit of variance in where Edvinsson’s been ranked on a number of these draft boards, and that makes our answer to this one a little more difficult. If he’s going somewhere in the top-5, as some have predicted, that’s pretty well out of the Flyers’ reach. But, if he’s going somewhere closer to seventh, that’s a little more manageable. It’s hard to imagine that he would fall all the way to the Flyers at 13, but if he’s on the board around seven or eight, the Flyers might be able to sweep in. It would probably take a significant package, and the question remains whether the Flyers would want to actually make the move required to move up that far.
What’s the point here? Is it outside the realm of possibility that the Flyers could move up and grab Edvinsson if he falls a bit? No, not really. Realistically, can we see them making that move? Also no, not really.
We’ll make one addition to the poll:
Chaz Lucius — C, US NTDP-USHL
Lucius is one of the most purely skilled players in the draft, with elite one-on-one skills and the ability to make defenders miss. He is known for his goal scoring, but he has good vision and can find seams and create in tight areas. His scoring is less due to an elite shot and where he scores. If you saw a heat map for his shots, it’s a big blob in front of the crease. - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
Who should be no. 7 on the 2021 BSH Community Draft Board?
This poll is closed
2021 BSH Community Draft Board
- Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Brandt Clarke — D, Nove Zamky (Slovakia)
- Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton (WHL)
- William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
- Luke Hughes — D, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Simon Edvinsson — D, Frölunda HC J20 (J20 Nationell), Västerås IK (HockeyAllesvenskan), Frölunda HC (SHL)