Jesper Wallstedt is a popular topic among Blackhawks fans at the moment. As good of a prospect he is, and player he may be, do the Blackhawks really need him?
Jesper Wallstedt is looking to become the first goaltender since Carey Price in 2005 to be selected in the top-ten, and the Blackhawks may want to be the team that selects him. We all know how Price is doing at the moment, and how successful his potential Hall of Fame career has been, but it is important to remember that you don’t need a superstar goaltender drafted in the top-ten of the first round to win a Stanley Cup.
Jesper Wallstedt is up there with the pros of the SHL. At age eighteen, this kid is putting up crazy numbers: a save percentage of 0.923, a GAA of 2.23. According to this source, Wallstedt is already solid with his rebounds, something we saw the Blackhawks, mainly Malcolm Subban, struggle to control. Wallstedt’s rebound control would only improve under Jimmy Waite, as would his IQ. On top of this, the consensus is that if development goes well (as it seems it would be under Waite) Wallstedt could be an X-factor for his team in the near future.
Wallstedt would look like a can’t miss prospect for the Blackhawks. If he is available, why wouldn’t they take him?
Here are some reasons.
Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia did quite well for the team in the games they were given. Yes, there were off nights but Delia’s OT loss to Dallas wasn’t his fault, making 45 saves in the game. Any goaltender would probably lose that game (probably, not for sure). They seem to be the next goaltending tandem for the future and are quite solid as the defense core in front of them played horribly. Corey Crawford put up similar numbers as Kevin Lankinen had this season, but with a much better defense core. I think he did quite well, and he wasn’t a superstar like Price or Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Wallstedt may be an X-factor goaltender one day, the win-condition for his team a la Carey Price, but he needs a great defensive core to succeed. They have big, bruising defensemen such as Shea Weber and Joel Edmundson who barely ever leave the net. The Blackhawks don’t have that yet, and seriously need to focus on it. Get Connor Murphy some help, Stan.
On top of this, the Blackhawks have more important areas to focus on: Size. If the Blackhawks draft Wallstedt (I’m not against this if they do, just to clarify) they are passing up a huge chance to add size and skill, an impact skater for the future.
Drafting Carson Lambos could mean they drafted the next Duncan Keith, could mean. They need more help in other positions, mainly defense, so they should focus more on roles of which have the most question marks, such as size and physicality. You can’t win in the playoffs with just Patrick Kane and Alex Debrincat. The Toronto Maple Leafs proved that with superstar their talent that fizzled out in the playoffs. The NHL is getting bigger and stronger, the Blackhawks have to go with the tide.
"Can the Chicago Blackhawks realistically draft Jesper Wallstedt?"
To conclude, Jesper Wallstedt could be a top add for the Blackhawks, adding a superstar goaltender for the future. As great as the add would be for the team, the Blackhawks need to focus on roles with more question marks such as size and positional woes such as their defense. In this draft, the Blackhawks have to address their size concerns, and add a player that brings in both size and skill. Also, once a defense core is set and developed, THEN a superstar goalie could be added. Until then? Any goaltender could struggle.
Wallstedt would be amazing for the future, but he’s just not what the Blackhawks need right now.