A puck-rushing defenseman with great size and skating ability. Not the most natural offensive threat but has good puck skills and a decent shot. Brings value to the team with excellent transitional play. Has a lot of room for improvement in his defensive game and decision-making. Projects to become a middle-pair defenseman at the NHL level.
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January 2020 – Wallinder started the season at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup but he played a small role on the team and wasn’t noticeable at all. No points in five games there. But his big breakthrough happened shortly after at the Junior Club World Cup where he scored four points in four games and put himself on the map as one of the top defensemen in this draft class. Since then, he has scored 21 points in 29 games in J20 SuperElit, and that puts him third among U18 defensemen in that league. Wallinder has also played 16 games at the men’s level in Allsvenskan. He has averaged just 4:36 of ice time in those games but it is a positive sign that he has earned those call-ups.
Wallinder is a puck-rushing defenseman with great size and a left-handed shot. He loves to join the rush and he’s often times even leading the rush. He is a great skater and has good puck skills which allow him to play that type of a role. But sometimes he has a tendency to keep the puck on his stick for too long. His strengths are mostly in transition and on the rush attack, though, as he isn’t the most natural offensive threat in the offensive zone. His biggest weakness can be found at the other end. At times, he seems disinterested in defending, almost like he’s just waiting for his team to get the puck back so that they can start rushing towards the offensive end once again. Because of his physical tools and playing style, Wallinder draws comparisons to Philip Broberg. But Broberg’s strengths were a bit better and his weaknesses were not quite as bad, and Broberg’s game was more polished at the same age.
Wallinder will likely split the rest of this season between SuperElit and Allsvenskan, and he is expected to represent Sweden at the U18 Worlds. Based on his previous performances at the international stage, I’m not expecting much from him in that tournament – he doesn’t seem to have the confidence to play to his strengths when wearing the Three Crowns jersey. But Wallinder’s play with MODO should be enough to get him drafted at least in the second round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Jokke Nevalainen