In another classic case of young defenseman with consistency issues, Ludvig Bystrom will be on first round draft radars after a strong body of work in the Swedish junior ranks before making the leap to the S.E.L. with Modo’s senior squad.
As a player who burst on to the scene fairly quickly after not being particularly heralded coming up, Bystrom has become one of the most closely scrutinized Swedish prospects around. He still needs to resist the urge to go with the flashy play but he appears poised to be one of the next solid two-way defensemen to come out of Sweden.
Born: July 20, 1994
What people in the know know
Ludvig Byström is a smooth-skating d-man who is a good problem solver and has good smarts with the puck. He can deliver really good outlet passes tape to tape. I watched him a few times in the SEL, where he was dressed about 20 games this season. I was impressed with the poise he showed at the big stage in Sweden. He played a more mature game against men than he did against players of his own age. When I’ve seen him with MODO’s junior team, I’ve felt he has tried to do too much at times, which led to some mistakes in his own end.
Byström split time with the Junior team and the Elitserien team in MODO. As a junior he was one of the better players in the league and amongst his peer group he was a fixture on each of Sweden’s International tournaments this year. Byström played sparingly in MODO (SEL) and was used more as an injury call up than that of a regular player. His strengths lie in his ability to play a calm game with the puck and not hurry his decisions. He has an exceptional first pass and does an outstanding job of disguising his movements to throw off the opposition. Byström has a fluid and graceful skating stride and a quick first step that allows him to easily jump into the play. He is capable of manning a PP but his shot is not over powering rather it is his puck distribution skills that makes him a threat to manufacture offence. Byström shows some confidence in the physical aspect of the game in defensive situations but needs to be more assertive in terms of positioning and maintaining his gap control. Byström‘s calculated style of play has value at the NHL level
Lofty expectations have followed Bystrom around since the summer, when he was one of Sweden’s breakout players at the Ivan Hlinka tournament.
“He came onto the radar quickly,” said one scout. “He’s got the size, the feet and the overall mobility. On top of that, he’s got the poise.”
Of course, other evaluators would see Bystrom and scratch their heads. Consistency is an issue and he can overcomplicate things sometimes, leading to turnovers. At the World Jr. A Challenge, he was victimized on several occasions in that manner.
Still, Bystrom’s work in his own zone is another plus and earned him time in the Elite League. He contains well, closes in on forwards quickly and excels at loose puck battles. “He got to play up with the big team and he played well,” said another scout. “His patience and passing game are strong. Still a little high risk, but the upside is there.”
Bystrom is a strong prospect and should slot in as a mid to late first round pick. His puck handling and decision making has some way to come before he can be relied upon but that can be expected to turn around as he gains more experience against stronger competition.
Look for Bystrom to join his team in a couple of years after some time to grow on the SEL senior circuit.