Rasmus Dahlin and Adam Boqvist have been getting a lot of the attention as two of the top European prospects in the 2018 NHL Draft, and deservedly so.
But another Swedish born player has been carving his path to a top round pick.
Meet Isac Lundestrom.
The Gallivare, Sweden native, who is 14th in Future Considerations’ Winter ranking for the 2018 NHL Draft, has been playing in the SHL for the past two seasons.
And now he’s starring.
“Lundestrom has played with a lot of confidence this season after having a great start to the SHL season,” Future Considerations scout Dennis Schellenberg said. “He makes smart plays at both ends of the ice, on offence he protects the puck well and is good at using his body to keep the puck away from opponents.”
As a two-way centreman Lundestrom has been developing his offensive and defensive game against some of the best competition that Sweden has to offer. Through 40 games with Lulea HF, Lundestrom has scored six goals and added nine assists for 15 points, and has a plus-7 rating.
Already setting personal bests in goals, assists, and points Lundestrom looks to use the rest of the SHL season to increase his draft stock.
It’ll culminate a journey for the 18-year-old.
Lundestrom has worked his way through hockey in Sweden, enjoying success at every level he has played at. His resume can attest, as he’s represented Sweden internationally along the way.
He has a bronze at the World Under-17 Challenge, and has also competed at the Under-16 level. He has two silver medals to add to the collection, one at the World Under-18 Championship and another at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
At the World Juniors last December, Lundestrom had two goals in seven games to help net his latest medal.
“Lundestrom’s high work rate stands out, he always works hard both with and without the puck and never takes a shift off,” Future Considerations scout Christoffer Hedlund said.
Hedlund thinks that Lundestrom has strong offensive potential, stating “I think there’s a lot of upside in Lundestrom’s game, he can use his good vision to set up teammates and finish off plays using his quick release.”
Most young forward prospects struggle with their two-way game, often having mental lapses in their defensive responsibilities.
But not Lundestrom.
“On defense, he backchecks and follows puck carriers deep into his own zone, never giving up on those battles,” said Schellenberg.
The question isn’t whether or not Lundestrom will make an appearance at the NHL level.
It remains what he develops into.
“The question for me remains if he is skilled enough to crack the top 6 in any NHL-organization,” Schellenberg said. “He might be more a guy fitting a third line role killing penalties, but still offering some offensive upside to his team.”
He still has time to show scouts that he has what it takes to garner a top selection in the upcoming draft.
As Schellenberg said, Lundestrom seems to be on the path to becoming a middle-six forward in the NHL. He has offensive ability and is responsible in his own end and shows the tools to be an effective penalty killer at the NHL level.
That versatility could allow him to separate himself from other mid-first round prospects.