The San Jose harks shook up the first round, giving up their 11th-overall selection to scoop up a couple of second-rounders, in addition to a late first-rounder. Depending on who you ask, their ultimate selection at 27th overall went off the board, as the team drafted Swedish center Filip Bystedt.
Because the Sharks did not initially own a second-round selection, or a late first-rounder, Bystedt is largely unknown to the fanbase and backseat general manager hobbyists.
Here’s a collection of scouting reports on the SHL forward:
The NHL’s power brokers still covet power forwards more than just about any other player type in the sport. After all, who doesn’t like a player who can combine size, skill, and speed? Filip Bystedt doesn’t exactly fit that mould at the moment, but even the slim chance he’ll one day get there will be enough to elevate his stock, perhaps even to the first round.
Right now, Bystedt has size and handling skills to offer. The speed will have to come later. While improving the output of a player’s stride is a difficult endeavour, the finer mechanics of the Linköping centre’s skating are better than for most 6-foot-4 forwards, which suggests that he could become more agile with the appropriate coaching.
Just improving his speed won’t be enough for Bystedt, though. He will also have to learn to use it against defenders. Most of his plays are currently made in a glide. The forward prefers to slow down the tempo of the game. He attacks in a straight line and then cuts his motor to dangle through the stick and feet of defenders, something he can pull off at the J20 level, but that won’t be possible at the SHL or NHL level.
The long development path that Bystedt has ahead of him and some concerns about his ability to see plays develop had us drop him on our board this season. He is a project for an organization with a strong development team.
Pretty good chance for Filip Bystedt to make the NHL, not sure if he's going to be a star. pic.twitter.com/VQel2QzmPE— JD Young (Content Boi) (@MyFryHole) July 8, 2022
Bystedt, standing in at 6-4, is a big-bodied playmaker with flashes of strong offensive ability. His best attribute is his passing ability when he has possession of the puck. Bystedt consistently keeps his head up to scan the ice for open passing lanes to exploit. Even for someone as large as he is, his skating could definitely use some improvement as he works towards reaching the next level. Bystedt has shown limited bursts of strong straight-line speed but has consistently exhibited slightly below-average mobility for someone his size. Taking a look at the transition game, Bystedt has had success in this area. When he retrieves the puck in the defensive end, he uses his strong playmaking ability to find an open teammate to make the smart zone exit pass. When he receives an outlet pass in the neutral zone, Bystedt can use that straight-line burst to advance possession into the offensive end. The area of Bystedt’s game that could be considered his biggest weakness is his puck protection, especially given his physical tools. It may sound weird that a 6-4 player needs to work on his puck protection but in my viewings, he has not been able to successfully protect the puck in contested situations – from players the same height or smaller. This concern has affected chances in both the offensive and defensive zones.
A big riser in FCHockey’s Winter ranking up to 27, Filip Bystedt’s big November definitely weighed in on his moving into the first round of FC’s draft board. The big 6-foot-4 forward spent time in both the J18 Region and the J20 Nationell, plus attended the Four Nations tournament. On top of proving that he can put up points no matter how he’s used or what team he’s playing with, Bystedt has shown that he loves to shoot the puck, recording 27 shots through just his J20 games.
Bystedt has very much entered the conversation as the top Swedish forward available and could continue to rise up draft boards as the season rolls on. He has played in nine SHL games this season and has looked good. If he can continue that, he could enter the top-20 discussion.
“Bystedt is a big two-way center that plays with a lot of power and strength in his game and does always seem to find his way to the hot spots on the ice,” said Swedish scout Fredrik Haak. “He shows surprisingly great puckhandling skills for his size/coordination, covers the puck really well and can often pressure himself through opponents. Bystedt is a big asset on the power play and carries the puck easily through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone to start the play.”
Bystedt has all the skills one would want in a two-way centre. With his size, skating, vision and passing ability and a good shot, he could be a top-six centre if fully developed. However, there seems to be something missing here and he leaves one wanting more. Bystedt needs to abandon his perimeter game and drive to the dirty areas of the ice to take his game to the next level. He will likely spend next season with Linkopings in the SHL. He could also spend some time with the Swedish national team at the World Juniors in December. NHL teams will want to get him over to North America as soon as possible, to adjust to the smaller ice surface and play a grittier game. His style is reminiscent of Nikolai Antropov, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and agility.
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.
I am pretty on the fence with Bystedt, but I if I am forced to say yes or no, I would lean against picking him with the Devils 2nd round pick. Bystedt seems like a high-ceiling, low floor type player to me. He has a good shot to make the NHL because of his size and defensive ability, but I want the Devils to aim higher at this stage of the draft. I tend to think the offensive ability is somewhat overstated. This is just my own impression, but I think that often when you have a player this size, particularly as a center, scouts tend to salivate over the frame and you get a lot of the qualifier, “for his size” attached to his other attributes. That sounds alarm bells in my head. I don’t think Bystedt would be an inexcusable selection by any means, but if the Devils do select him, I hope it’s after they’ve traded down 10-15 spots and picked up another asset. I am not an expert by any means on this (or any) draft class, but my feeling is that you should always go for upside when drafting, and Bystedt seems like a lot of average packaged in extra-large frame.
His size and shot have many excited about his potential but his overall footspeed is the reason that will keep him out of the first round. 15 years ago, Bystedt would have looked like a potential top-10 pick but in the new NHL, speed rules all and that is one of the knocks in Bystedt’s game.
He’s an interesting prospect to take a swing on with a second-round pick and as the Canucks are without a second-round pick, I doubt Bystedt is in play without making some trades of draft picks to get him. Bystedt is ranked in the top-50 of most major scouting sites and with his size and scoring ability along with him being a centre, it’s very unlikely that he falls out of the second round.