The Coyotes select from Frölunda HC of Sweden, Filip Westerlund at 44th overall.
He played with the Frölunda and Frölunda HC J20 and has played for Sweden internationally in the U18’s as well. He played 33 games with the Men’s team as a steady defenseman, logging more minutes than next year’s projected #1 draft pick, Rasmus Dahlin.
Frölunda, captained by Joel Lundqvist, is one of the top teams in the SHL and produces some of the best players that come over to the NHL. Westerlund is quoted of wanting to go somewhere with sunshine, which he will get tons of in Arizona. He is a playmaker who likes having the puck.
You can listen to Jonathan Sigalet speak about Westerlund and Dahlin at 40:41 of the PuckDrop Europe Podcast here.
Sarah McLellan of AZCentral.com was one of two Coyotes beat reporters on-site at the draft. She said, “Westerlund calls himself a two-way defenseman. Says his biggest strength is his hockey sense.” Additionally, she tweeted some information that might just show how excited Westerlund is to be drafted by the Coyotes:
Asked who he grew up idolizing and wanting to emulate his game after, Westerlund said OEL and Hjalmarsson.— Sarah McLellan (@azc_mclellan) June 24, 2017
Westerlund is a right-handed defenseman (RHD), which is something that the Coyotes are looking to bolster their depth in. Currently, other RHD prospects in the system that have not yet played an NHL game include Kyle Wood, Dysin Mayo, Dean Stewart, and Connor Clifton.
A scouting report from LastWordonHockeyProspects.com describes Westerlund as having the “skating and skills to be a top four defenceman” as long as he works on getting stronger and playing more physically. Author Ben Kerr notes that Westerlund has great mobility, top-end speed in both directions, transitions well, has good hands, is a better playmaker than goal scorer, is good at battling in corners and in front of the net. However, he has problems with big forwards, needs to work on the power of his shot and initiating contact, Kerr says.
Filip Westerlund answers questions at the NHL Draft. pic.twitter.com/2gp9MeyypT— Dave Vest (@davest4yotes) June 24, 2017
Westerlund may be one of many prospects that will join the likes of Clayton Keller and Dylan Strome at the 2017 prospect development camp to be held next week. At this time, a full roster of attendees has yet to be released as the draft only just ended.
After that, he may be heading back to Frölunda next season, from what he said to AZSports.com reporter Craig Morgan, who was also on site at the draft.
Filip Westerlund called OEL & Hjalmarsson idols, will stay w/Frolunda next season, wants to work on his shot.— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) June 24, 2017
If you can’t make it to prospect camp but still want to see Westerlund, you can watch highlights of Westerlund’s performance in the IIHF World Hockey Championships U18 Tournament below.