Filip Bystedt has the one thing that makes scouts take notice right away: size. His canvas is large, and it has people wondering whether he will end up becoming a masterpiece.
There are some real question marks to his game, but he’s not merely a big body either. Bystedt has some intriguing skills that may make a team look very smart for taking a chance on him in the first two rounds.
Birthplace: Linköping, Sweden
Date of birth: February 4, 2004
Weight: 205 lbs.
Team: Linköping HC (SHL)
Bystedt has had the opportunity to play and grow up for his hometown team from the U16 level all the way to the senior SHL.
Bystedt played games at three different age levels. He ended up playing 15 games in the SHL, scoring a goal and an assist. He was only one of four first-year draft eligible forwards (and nine skaters) to play at least 15 games at the senior level this season in Sweden’s top league.
The majority of his games came at the U20 level. It was there that he performed well, scoring 16 goals and adding 33 assists in 40 games. The year before, as a 16 year old, he was almost a point a game as well showing that he has been playing at a high level against older players.
Of Bystedt’s 49 points in Sweden’s U20 league, 23 were primary points at even strength, putting him ninth among first-year draft eligible players. He added four power play goals and seven primary assists on the power play.
He also won a gold medal with Sweden at the most recent U18 World Championships where he had two goals and an assist in six games. He played more of a support role in Sweden’s middle six.
Bystedt’s strength is in the offensive zone. He has a very good wrist shot. He uses his leverage well, and it is something that makes him an intriguing option that can play on the power play. He’s able to beat goaltenders from far out.
That’s good because he is seen as a perimeter player. Despite his size, he’s not necessarily someone that plays a lot in front of the net consistently right now. He’s also not someone that really uses his size to play physically.
His skating mechanics are good, and not just for a player his size. The issue with Bystedt is that he doesn’t play fast consistently. He plays a lot of the time at a glide, and tends to try to beat defenders by slowing down instead of attacking with pace. This is something that will need to improve if he’s to make it at the professional level.
This is a problem because his puck handling at full speed tends to be inconsistent and he can lose the puck or mishandle it. His top end speed also isn’t as fast as you would expect for someone with his speed and mechanics, but he does have the ability to breeze through the zone.
He also lacks the strong decision making with the puck. He has good vision, and is able to find teammates but the issues he has at top speed can be due to some of his decision making.
Elite Prospects: #70
Bob McKenzie (TSN): #42
NHL Central Scouting: #17 (European Skaters)
Corey Pronman (The Athletic) #38
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): #58
Draft Prospect Hockey: #38
Hockey Prospect: #75
Craig Button: #69
It would take a big leap of faith to see Bystedt see his name called on the first night of the NHL Draft, but he shouldn’t have to wait long on Friday. Most services rank him solidly in the second round. Some services are cooler on him and push him into the third round. The EOTP Consensus Rankings have him in the first half of the second round at #43.
Even those who rank him higher do so because of a high floor. He doesn’t have the upside of a top-six centre at the NHL level and projects to play lower down in the lineup. He’s not known to be a defensive-minded player but can provide a team with some skill and vision from that spot. He is also able to kill penalties.
Those who rank him low do so because they are skeptical that he will be able to put the whole package together. Some lament his ability to play with speed, while others want to see him implicate himself more physically.
Some scouts notice that his style of play changed depending on the level he played at, and think that he may be figuring out what kind of player he wants to be.
In the end, the issue with Bystedt is matching consistency to his potential. With such a big frame, strong skating mechanics, and a big shot, there’s a reason why he is seen so high on some boards.
Development will be key for any team that drafts Bystedt. The question going forward, is how his game will be able to grow and whether the flashes he shows can become consistent.