Updated: May 11
The FET from Bystedt's Youtube Video:
Filip Bystedt #18:
In short, Bystedt, sporting #18 this tournament instead of #21 like the above graphic states, had an excellent three game tournament for Sweden's U20 squad. He led all players in scoring, with 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points in 3 games.
He played primarily on a line with Leo Carlsson, a 2023 NHL Draft eligible who we'll talk about in a bit. He was either first or second line center every game, with top powerplay and penalty kill duties as well. It is important to keep in mind that as the make-up WJC was just wrapping up, that these summer games did not have nearly the same amount of star power and most of the highly ranked U20 prospects from Sweden, Finland, Czechia and Slovakia were not present for one reason or another. Still though, this left ample ice-time for a prospect like Bystedt to shine.
After watching all three games, the final game against Finland was his most impressive. He did have quite the shooting gallery going against Slovakia, racking up 10 shots and 2 goals, but that was such a one-sided game that real analysis is difficult there. Let's start with the report from Czechia.
8/25 vs. Czechia:
A net-front goal and a nice assist for Bystedt this game highlighted a solid all-around day for him. Bystedt's patient puck-protecting game complemented Leo Carlsson's speedy, shoot-first mentality throughout the game.
As I've mentioned in Bystedt's Youtube video, he has a knack for finding loose pucks and making smart plays after like he did for the above assist. He has great scanning habits, constantly turning his head and checking for his next move. Coupled with good angling paths on defense, he's able to pick up the loose change when a play breaks down very frequently at this level. He's got great vision, but as we'll see in the Finland game, he needs to dial in his pass accuracy sometimes. Still though his patience and confidence throughout the game stuck out to me.
A few negative things with Bystedt from my last evaluation still stuck out to me this game as well. He has some issue with gaining speed specifically when he's carrying the puck. This causes him to get caught from behind frequently like this clip below as he's trying to advance the puck up ice.
Last nit-picky thing that will also be touched on later, but I think he could become a more effective player if he learned how to throw his weight around. So many times he skates right up to a player half his size who is trying to carry the puck, and instead of engaging physically to separate him from the puck, he'll opt for a weak stick check and angling. Now it's the smarter decision sure, as the larger ice-surface and his lack of checking form could lead to a break if he misses, but it's not always the right decision. Sometimes he just needs to skate into someone. This isn't the best example but here's sort of what I mean. He sees his man, and instead of going at him, he stops up, and almost allows the defender to make the play.
Still though, I think this whole game had a Retrieve theme to it for Bystedt, as his assist and goal were from good retrieval skills with net-front physicality and loose puck gathering. Here's another good example of why Bystedt still rates pretty high at 6.5 in that category:
Bystedt shields the defender with his larger frame, bides time, and eventually reverse direction in the corner, using his size to get the defender off him and finding his man in the center of the ice. Great stuff.
8/26 vs. Slovakia:
If the previous game had a Retrieve feel to it for Bystedt, this is the Finish game for him. Bystedt again skating with Carlsson, but this time decided that he was going to be the triggerman, logging 10 shots on goal in an 11-1 win for Team Sweden. He finished with 2 goals and an assist for his effort.
Bystedt's assist was an excellent breakout play from his line, followed by Bystedt receiving a pass in his skate, kicking it to his stick and then smartly dropping it back for the slot man:
Bystedt's first goal was a tip in front. He had a glorious opportunity just seconds before that I'm including in this clip as well. Great offensive positioning from Bystedt for both chances:
Bystedt's second goal was similar to some of his prior ones from the J20 circuit last year. Set up in the slot, rip home a wrister off a loose puck. The camera is a little shaky as a forewarning. You can see he almost did the Bystedt thing where he drops to his knees to shoot. If you slow it down he's juuuust dropping the leg. It bothers me. Anyways, great shot.
Overall I found Bystedt to be much more aggressive this game. He was shooting from everywhere and was constantly trying to set up into shooting spots. It was a different sort of game than I'm used to from him, as normally he's the patient puck-carrier or distributor rather than the triggerman, but it still was a dominant performance from him and Sweden end-to-end.
8/27 vs. Finland:
This was my favorite game from Bystedt. Although less aggressive this game, and certainly didn't get many looks on net, he displayed the aspects of his Carry and Distribute game that I think make him most successful. Let's start with some good passing.
On the powerplay:
Behind the net:
The last one could have been a tad more accurate, but right idea from Bystedt. Still though, he needs to work on his accuracy, as you can see in this clip too:
His brain gets a bit crossed here as he sent it to the guy coming from the box.
Overall though Bystedt displayed great carry, transition and distribution qualities this game. I want to highlight my favorite shift from him. I'm being a bit lazy with this next clip, as it's just an entire shift from Bystedt unclipped. It's a bit of an eye-sore to do but try to keep your eye on #18 the whole time.
He's put into what I can see as four dangerous/tricky positions and navigates them perfectly to beat his attacker and get the puck up ice. First at :11 seconds he receives a puck from his defender that is most often easily picked off by the streaking winger, and he (just off-screen) corrals it, and passes it forward. Then at :35 seconds he astutely backchecks into the lane of a would-be pass option and picks off a pass. Excellent patience afterwards to puck-protect into safety and pass over his forechecker. Then at :43 seconds, he's scanning for a loose puck, gathers it as the only man back, and calmly beats his forechecker again with a good deke and passes it up ice. Finally he catches a puck at 1:02, turns and fires it tape to tape to set up a great scoring chance up ice. For one shift, four great examples of retrieval, transition, carrying ability and distribution working together for Bystedt. This is when I'm most excited about him as a prospect, when I can see patience and vision to his game.
Anyways, I think for now a grade of 6.25 is solid for Bystedt, but these types of performances, albeit against lower compeition, may mean he earns a higher grade as the year goes on. I'm excited to see him against men in the SHL. Hopefully with some more added muscle both his acceleration and his physical play without the puck can improve. I've seen some glimpses of both improving at this tournament but these are the areas I think hold his game back the most. Luckily both may improve with some Built Bars.
Boy, this kid is good. You'll notice in a bunch of the above clips that the one finishing those Bystedt passes was #21 Carlsson. He's quick on his feet, with good hands and a deadly wrist shot. He reminds me of Jonathan Lekkerimaki with his opportunistic shooting, but may have a higher ceiling just because of his other physical qualities. Listed at 6'3", 185 pounds already, he looks stocky in his upper body. With some refinement to his physical play I think a power forward in the mold of Timo Meier could be in store for Carlsson. He scored an impressive 9 points in 35 SHL games in his D-1 season. Pretty...pretty good. Here's a fun puck rush from him coming up the wing from this weekend:
Otto Salin was an interesting defender from last year's class, getting picked up by LA in the 5th round. I actually don't think he registered a point in this short tournament, but I found his play intriguing. He's quick enough on his skates to make moves, has a good outlet pass, and sets up in the offensive zone well. This play stuck out to me, as similar to the Bystedt shift video I posted above, I often look specifically at what players do in less than ideal situations, and this one fit the bill. Calmly collects the loose puck, dekes his attacker off, then bank passes around another onto the tape of his wing. Good stuff.
He made a few less than ideal turnovers, but I found him to be a confident and fairly mobile defender overall.
Mattias Hävelid will be getting a prospect breakdown video sometime this year, as all the notable defenders in the Sharks pool have yet to be profiled. Overall he came as advertised, connecting on a few good passing plays in the offensive zone with Bystedt. There's nothing specifically wrong with his game that I can pinpoint right now, but nothing overly dynamic either. He opts to shoot on net way more often than pass around the offensive zone, and most of those are pretty low percentage shots. This isn't anything new from him, it was just apparent most of the games. Overall I worry his lack of size and dynamism may limit him to just a 2nd PP guy. Reminds me of a faster Tim Heed with a better shot at this stage...for Sharks fans who happen to remember Tim Heed.
Anyways, that's all for now. Eklund video should be out in the next few weeks. Thanks for reading and watching!