Can Jesper Wallstedt be the Red Wings' goaltender of the future?

The future for the Red Wings between the pipes?


The National Hockey League Entry Draft is just around the corner and although the draft is a big deal for every team in the league, for rebuilding teams like the Detroit Red Wings it can prove to be an especially crucial time of year. No one truly knows which way general manager Steve Yzerman will go choose to go with his #6 overall pick at this year's draft, and quite frankly Yzerman himself likely doesn't know considering he can't predict what the general managers picking ahead of him will do, but recently there has been a lot of speculation linking the Red Wings to Swedish goaltender Jesper Wallstedt.

Many project Wallstedt to be a very good goaltender at the NHL level and there are even those who believe that he could prove to be the goaltender of the future for a franchise, a franchise like the Detroit Red Wings. Traditionally picking goaltenders in the first round is a relatively rare occurrence however Yzerman himself famously drafted Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is currently dominating the Stanley Cup Final, during his time with that organization. Yzerman has demonstrated a willingness to look for a franchise goaltender in the first round in the past and perhaps for this reason there are many who suspect he will pull the trigger on Wallstedt at the draft.

The 18 year old Swede showcased an outstanding level of play for a player his age this season in the Swedish Hockey League and he carried over that success to his play at the international level as well. Sweden did not have a strong showing at the World Juniors but Wallstedt was solid in his two appearances for his country recording a .923 save percentage despite failing to pick up a win.

Of all the skills that Wallstedt has displayed thus far in his young professional career, it is perhaps his vision of the game that has convinced scouts more than anything else that he is a goaltender of NHL quality. His hockey IQ has received rave reviews and it could very well serve to make him a force in front of the net for years to come. 

The only question is will it be in front of a Red Wings net?