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NHL Mock Draft 2021: Chicago Blackhawks select Jesper Wallstedt with No. 11 pick

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The Swedish goalie would add additional depth at that position.

Sweden v Czech Republic: Preliminary Round Group B - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

The Blackhawks short-term future in net remains unsettled with the trio of Kevin Lankinen, Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia all still in varying levels of contention for the No. 1 spot in Chicago. Behind those three, Chicago’s organizational depth at goaltender isn’t great, with 2019 sixth-round pick Dominic Basse and 2020 second-round pick Drew Commesso the only two worth considering as potential long-term options.

That’s part of the reason why, with the No. 11 overall pick in the SB Nation NHL Mock Draft for 2021, we’re selecting goaltender Jesper Wallstedt from Lulea of the SHL (Sweden).

Jesper Wallstedt

Birth date: Nov. 14, 2002
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 214 pounds
Catches: Left

It’s largely a two-horse race for the top ranking among goaltenders in this draft between Wallstedt and Sebastian Cossa from the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. At The Athletic, Corey Pronman listed Cossa as the highest-ranked goalie prospect and 10th overall, while Wallstedt was right behind him at 11th overall. Scott Wheeler had Wallstedt 12th overall with Cossa down at 19. It’s difficult to find a consensus No. 1 between those two, although Cossa literally stands out because of his 6-6 frame. What makes Wallstedt special, though, has to do with his technique and overall impressive mental approach to the game, which is why he’s our pick here.

Pick a favorite source for prospect scouting reports and they often return the same buzzwords/phrases with Wallstedt: rebound control, positioning, technique, angle control, effectiveness, etc. It all adds up to goalie who sees and thinks the game well, which is why he plays the game so well. Many scouting reports name Tuukka Rask as the best NHL comparison for Wallstedt, although portions of his scouting report do read eerily similar to that of former Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford. We’ll take that.

Wallstedt has been playing above his age group for years, going back to the 2015-16 season when he was playing in the U16 division during the season he turned 14. In ‘17-18 he was up to the Sweden’s top level of junior hockey — at the age of 16 — and posted a 15-8 record with a .921 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against average. During the 2020-21 season, Wallstedt saw his first consistent action in the SHL — the top league in Sweden — and put up a 12-10 record with a .908 SV% and 2.23 GAA. Wallstedt’s numbers reportedly dipped in the second half of the postseason, but not enough to affect the growing spotlight on him.

Here are the rest of the first round picks to this point:

  1. BUF: D Owen Power
  2. SEA: F Matthew Beniers
  3. ANA: F Dylan Guenther
  4. NJD: D Luke Hughes
  5. CBJ: F William Eklund
  6. DET: F Mason McTavish
  7. SJS: F Kent Johnson
  8. LAK: D Simon Edvinsson
  9. VAN: D Brandt Clarke
  10. OTT: F Fabian Lysell
  11. CHI: G Jesper Wallstedt