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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June 2023 – The 2020 second round pick made huge strides this past season in the SHL with Rogle, earning the 2022-23 European Hockey Club’s Young Player of the Year. “William Wallinder had a real good year,” Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said. “He’s developed nicely over in Sweden.” The Red Wings defensive prospect registered seven goals and 19 assists in 50 games, which ranked 13th among defenseman. He was the highest scoring SHL player under the age of 21. Wallinder is a big, puck-moving defenseman – the type most NHL teams crave – but his defensive game is still a work in progress. His average ice time of 21:27 led his team and was tenth overall across the entire league. The Wings organization signed him in March and he ended up getting in one game with their minor league affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.
“He’s got a lot of work to do still, but he is a prospect,” Yzerman said. “His skating has really improved, as has his puckhandling and his play. He was in a very good program in Rogle in Sweden. We’ve got Nik Kronwall and Nick Lidstrom close by watching him and working with him to the extent that they can. He’s developed nicely. He’s maturing as a young man as well, so we have optimism for him.”
Expect Wallinder to play the majority of the 2023-2024 season in the AHL with the Griffins. He is a highly regarded prospect that could have some major fantasy value down the road, especially in category leagues. The 20-year-old is most definitely worth a roster stash as his game continues to evolve. Evan Sabourin
December 2020 – Wallinder has been removed from Sweden’s WJC roster due to COVID protocols. Nick Richard
December 2020 – Beginning the season in Sweden’s J20 Nationell, Wallinder quickly earned a call up to the Allsvenskan after registering two goals and four assists in just four games. The smooth-skating defender has suited up in 15 games for MODO thus far, tallying three assists in the process. He was recently named to Sweden’s preliminary roster for the World Junior Championships and he would have been in contention for a depth role on their blue line but he is among a number of players on the Swedish preliminary roster to be barred from competition due to COVID-19. Nick Richard
October 2020 – Wallinder was drafted 32nd overall by the Red Wings. Wallinder is expected to spend another two or three years in Sweden before crossing the pond. Jokke Nevalainen
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