Early Wednesday morning, it was announced that Red Wings prospect and Rögle BK defenseman William Wallinder had been named the Swedish Hockey League's U20 player of the year by Kamratföreningen Ishockeyjournalisterna. This comes just one year removed from Moritz Seider winning the same award while playing for Rögle BK in 2020-21.
The 2020 32nd overall pick had a slow start this season spending some time with the Rögle's U20 team as well as being the pro club's seventh defenseman. However, his great play earned him more and more playing time for the team that finished with the best record in the regular season. In their game seven victory over Oskarshamn to advance to the SHL semifinals, he led all Rögle skaters with 23:13 of ice time.
Wallinder is growing ever more comfortable at the SHL level and picks up his 2nd assist of the game with a shot that gets re-directed into the net. He also starts the play off with a nice cross-ice pass. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/aE7wBpE6ZF— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) February 8, 2022
Wallinder led all U20 defensemen and finished T-22nd among all SHL defensemen with 19 points in 47 games. He did this all while playing solid defense for the fourth-best defensive team in the SHL. While he won't be winning the award for Best Defenseman like Seider did last year, it was still a fantastic season for Wallinder. With the lack of left-handed defensemen in Detroit who look certain to be part of the team's future, the 6'4” defenseman will hopefully fill that void within the next two years.