We are less than a month away from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft (July 23-24), so it’s time to start researching the prospects likely to be selected in the first round. The Columbus Blue Jackets currently hold three picks in that round: #5, #24, and #30 or #31.
Team: Luleå HF (Sweden)
Date of Birth: November 14, 2002
Birthplace: Västerås, Sweden
Height: 6’ 3”
Ranked #8 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #6 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #7 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #10 by NEUTRAL ZONE
Ranked #5 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #9 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #1 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU GOALIES)
Ranked #12 by SPORTSNET’S
Ranked #16 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
Ranked #3 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
Ranked #10 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
Ranked #7 by SMAHT SCOUTING
Ranked #10 by THE PUCK AUTHORITY
Ranked #10 by TSN/McKenzie
Games Played: 22
Goals Against Average: 2.23
Save %: .908
It didn’t take long to reach our first goalie in the 2021 draft class. Jesper Wallstedt is ranked as high as 3rd overall and looks to be a consensus top 10 pick. The last goalie taken in the top 10 was Carey Price in 2005 (5th overall). Those are some big shoes to fill. With many around the hockey world feeling uncertain about this year’s class, this could very well be the year that someone grabs a goalie early — Detroit, LA, Chicago, and Ottawa all need future goalies. Star goaltenders are hard to come by and someone may take the chance.
It’s highly unlikely the Blue Jackets will give Wallstedt more than a glance at #5. With Daniil Tarasov in the pipeline and Elvis Merzlikins occupying the current spot, it’s hard to imagine passing up on the likes of Clarke, Edvinsson, or Ekund for a goalie. However, if a GM thinks the Swede is the next Carey Price, is it worth using that high pick to take him? Personally, I’d pass or trade down if he’s best available at #5. In the unlikely event that he’s available at 24, sure, go for it.
You say drafting a goalie this high is a dumb move, I say you’re a coward and need to grow a backbone. As possibly the only true franchise-altering talent in this class, if Wallstedt isn’t at least in the conversation for teams at the top of the draft, they are doing themselves a disservice. One of the most technically sound goaltenders in years to enter the draft, Wallstedt has the incredible ability to put his athleticism on the backburner with save after save look easy because of his elite puck tracking and positional play within his net. That’s not to say that he is unathletic as some have suggested because he has made numerous stellar saves from a position of desperation this season showcasing his lower body explosion as well as his flexibility. I’ll say it again. If Wallstedt isn’t in the conversation for teams up top, it’s a mistake. - Tony Ferrari, Dobber Prospects
“Before [late last season], though, he had only ever looked like a manufactured goaltending robot, the kind who checked every single box. I had nitpicks about recent first-round goalies Spencer Knight and Yaroslav Askarov that I just don’t really have about Wallstedt.” - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
It would be an enormous surprise if Wallstedt does not develop into an NHL starter, and with his fundamentals and maturity he has the potential to be an elite goalie in the NHL. If a team in the 8-15 range pick him up in the 2021 draft no-one should complain about the value of the pick. - Smaht Scouting
Is Jesper Wallstedt worth a look at #5?
This poll is closed
Trade down if he’s best available