Welcome to this yr’s Top 25 Under 25 collection. If you’re unfamiliar, we’re going player-by-player in a rating of the highest 25 Minnesota Wild gamers which can be beneath the age of 25. It’s quite easy. Enjoy!
Anything that you simply examine Jesper Wallstedt turns out contradictory in a single obvious recognize — everyone loves his sport, however no one needs to stake their declare on a goaltending prospect. So let me simply put this in the market: Jesper Wallstedt is HIM.
Jesper Wallstedt is most likely probably the most thrilling Wild prospect no longer penciled in to play within the NHL this season. Every statistic and scouting file at the younger guy identifies him as probably the most ideally suited goaltending possibilities on the planet, however inserts the caveat that goaltending possibilities are notoriously tough to spot. On the opposite hand, infrequently do statisticians and novice scouts agree on anything else, let by myself with such vigor. I feel that on this case, it’s protected to make that bounce of religion and phone Wallstedt a lock to not turn into only a beginning NHL goaltender, however to retire as a reputation known by way of each and every fan of the NHL.
Wallstedt’s statistical resume is as long as to be funny — it’s like all of the nation of Sweden is doing all they are able to to get this child of their construction, and they have got been for years. He’s coming into his age 20 season in 2022-23, which means that the primary season on his elite Elite Prospects card above is from his age 13 season.
Wallstedt’s membership season stats are riddled with save percentages within the .910’s and .920’s. At age 15, Wallstedt performed 25 video games for VIK Västerås HK in Sweden’s J20 league. At age 17, he performed his first SHL sport, posting a .944 save proportion. The following yr, he performed 22 video games within the SHL, permitting best 2.23 GAA and posting a .908 save proportion. He additionally posted two shutouts. That’s lovely rattling excellent for an 18-year outdated rookie enjoying in opposition to grown males.
In 2021-22 Wallstedt advanced upon the ones numbers in every other complete season at Luleå HF. He used to be decided on to the World Juniors either one of the previous two years, posting absurd numbers at the back of a classically structured, good Swedish squad. At the World Junior Championship this summer season, he posted an eye-popping .940 save proportion in 5 video games and earned all megastar honors by way of being voted the most productive goaltender within the match.
Wallstedt’s complex statistics upload every other layer of excellence to his profile. Based on high quality of festival and era-adjusted save proportion in that league, HockeyProspecting.com has evolved a coarse equivalency for goalies which tasks Wallstedt into rarified air: notable comparables come with megastar NHL goalies Andrei Vasilevskiy and Igor Shesterkin, in addition to hall-of famer Grant Fuhr.
Of the previous 3 drafts, the type considers Wallstedt probably the most 3 ideally suited goalie possibilities within the league. The different two are each Russian possibilities with the good thing about enjoying on the planet’s ideally suited developmental device for goaltenders: the KHL.
You can see that Wallstedt’s monitor document used to be on tempo or forward of Yaroslav Askarov, thru two years, at which level Wallstedt stayed in Sweden and Askarov had the chance to transport as much as the KHL. The Hockey Prospecting knowledge type makes a case that high quality of festival is crucial consider goaltender building — this can be a central explanation why that, in comparison to Wallstedt, Askarov posted a a ways higher season two years after being drafted.
With Wallstedt penciled in to make the leap to the AHL this yr, I imagine that his numbers on this type will make a bounce, as he seems to have confirmed all he can in opposition to SHL festival.
Roll the Tape
Wallstedt gave us a very candid window into his sport with the next quote: “I want to make as small moves as possible and when I need to and get out of my comfort zone, I can make those game-winning saves.” It’s a captivating glance right into a participant’s psychological sport with which we’re infrequently privileged, and in addition explains why Wallstedt’s spotlight reel is moderately mundane: he’s actively looking to stable his group by way of making pictures in opposition to him seem like low-danger possibilities.
So, how does a technically sound, protected goalie turn into a world-renowned skill? This save on Caedan Bankier is a smart instance:
Wallstedt’s sport employs each and every molecule of his tall body in this play with out sacrificing steadiness or agility: his stick cuts off the five-hole in addition to a cutback transfer. This offers him time to learn which aspect Bankier will shoot at, quite than looking to wager and promote out to at least one aspect or every other. If he have been leaning ahead and off-balance, he is also pressured to chunk on Bankier’s head faux; as a substitute, he seals off the proper put up along with his pad and blocker aspect with ease. Re-wind that clip and also you’ll realize that he can have made it to the left put up at any time.
Here’s a spicier clip wherein Wallstedt makes use of that steadiness to make a moment push.
Square to the preliminary shooter (at first hidden at the back of Wallstedt at the proper of the display), Wallstedt tries to kick the rebound to the a ways nook, which is most often the most secure position for a rebound. While he fails to reach this, his steadiness is enough to push from proper to left and bring to a halt the second one strive. This is an elite save which he makes glance more uncomplicated than it used to be thru a mixture of measurement and steadiness.
An image starts to shape that once Wallstedt is enjoying in opposition to top finish junior skill, his method by myself makes him elite. The best query you’ll elevate from there’s, what occurs when he will get flustered? Are his reflexes excellent sufficient when examined by way of elite festival? Enter projected opening night time top-nine middle Marco Rossi.
Point clean and out of place, Wallstedt reveals a method to deflect the second one effort into the nook.
A couple of years in the past, twitter consumer @dantiffany30 supplied an excellent thread breaking down a few of Wallstedt’s SHL tape.
Jesper Wallstedt- Lulea (SHL)
Watch this collection of saves, by no means as soon as does Wallstedt fall into “scramble mode” he remains calm, holds his positioning, and makes use of his sturdy edges to stick sq. to the shooter thrice. Wallstedt is down and slightly deep, however as a result of he’s 6’4.. percent.twitter.com/sXugx52yPy
— Danny Tiffany (@dantiffany30) November 4, 2020
While this used to be posted remaining yr in Wallstedt’s Top 25 Under 25 article, it’s price every other glance. The thread branches in more than one instructions by means of a treasure trove of movie when you’d like to move deeper into Wallstedt’s method.
The ultimate element within the Wallstedt developmental method is to season him at the easiest stage of festival conceivable whilst specializing in his building. Having been assigned to Minnesota’s AHL associate, the Iowa Wild, Wallstedt is in the most productive league on earth for his cases.
Prospect mavens are most often in settlement that Wallstedt is a top-five prospect within the Wild’s device and a top-three goaltending prospect on earth. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman ranked Wallstedt because the second-best goaltending prospect at the back of best Spencer Knight. He additionally ranked Wallstedt as a greater total prospect than Marco Rossi and Calen Addison, either one of whom are making the NHL roster this yr. All 3 of those gamers have noticed NHL motion whilst Wallstedt has but to debut within the AHL — if that’s the one factor protecting him from being regarded as a world-best prospect within the eyes of scouts across the league, you must assume that he’s lovely rattling as regards to The Show.
So why no longer this season? In a phrase, polish. While the SHL is a aggressive league completely have compatibility to increase teenage goaltenders, Wallstedt most probably wishes time to rise up to NHL velocity. At occasions on this preseason, he has been stuck off-guard by way of pictures that you simply don’t see within the Europe. Time within the AHL will give him the chance to regulate to the smaller sheet of ice on which the North American sport is performed. Most importantly, Wallstedt should to get used pushing his convenience zone and make difficult saves extra regularly, all whilst adjusting to the workload of a for much longer agenda.
Jesper Wallstedt has demonstrated that he’s head and shoulders above any league with an age restrict. he mainly dunked at the SHL this yr enjoying in opposition to grown males as smartly. If issues move proper in Iowa, I received’t make any predictions as to his position in Minnesota’s device in 2024; I’ll simply indicate that this summer season, GM Bill Guerin shipped Cam Talbot to Ottawa, the group’s best NHL goaltender beneath contract previous this season. In Talbot’s position is a tender backup with a cap hit beneath $1 MM, the definition of replaceable. Call me loopy, however that leaves a trail for Wallstedt to the NHL in 2022-23, alternatively not likely.
Hockey Wilderness 2022 Top 25 Under 25
25. Mason Shaw, C/LW
24. Sam Hentges, C/LW
23. (*25*)Simon Johansson, D
22. Hunter Haight, C
21. Nikita Nesternenko, C
20. Marshall Warren, D
19. Filip Gustavsson, G
18. Mikey Milne, LW
17. Mitchell Chaffee, RW
16. Pavel Novak, RW
15. Ryan O’Rourke, D
14. Daemon Hunt, D
13. Jack Peart, D
12. Tyson Jost, C
11. Adam Beckman, LW
10. Connor Dewar, C, LW
9. Danila Yurov, RW
8. Carson Lambos, D
7. Marat Khusnutdinov, C/LW
6. Liam Öhgren, LW
5. Brock Faber, D
4. Calen Addison, D
3. Jesper Wallstedt, G