From time to time, we will take a look at what’s going on down the Vegas Golden Knights’ pipeline. Today, we make our way to Sweden, where a pair of countrymen and recent Vegas draftees are making a name for themselves in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) as their stock continues to rise.
David Edstrom, C
In the first round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, as most teams sought out high end skill, the Golden Knights instead doubled down on a major organizational strength over the years: big, smart, physical, defensive-minded forwards. Enter David Edstrom, who the club selected with the 32nd and final pick in the round.
The 6’3″ center boasts the type of subtle, heady game that blends seamlessly into the pros and could see him arrive in the NHL sooner rather than later. Amidst a transition from the Frolunda junior team to its senior roster, the 18-year-old hasn’t looked out of place, recording four goals and 10 points in 24 games for a Frolunda team that currently occupies a playoff spot.
While skating remains an area of weakness for Edstrom, he has shown through roughly half of his SHL rookie season that he can hold his own and find his spots in the offensive zone against fully grown men, including some former NHLers.
Carl Lindbom, G
From a Vegas first-round pick, we move on to a seventh-round pick from the franchise. Of course, things have changed significantly from the time that Carl Lindbom was selected with the 222nd pick of the 2021 Draft.
First and foremost, the 20-year-old Lindbom has seen his stock skyrocket in the two years since. He earned Goaltender of the Year honors in Sweden’s first division in 2022-23 after going 25-11 with a .929 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average for a Djurgardens club that reached the final.
That performance put Lindbom on the fast track to the top tier SHL, where he has joined Farjestads BK Karlstad for the 2023-24 season. Despite moving up to a higher caliber of opponent, the Stockholm native hasn’t missed a beat. He’s responded to the new league by going 10-5 so far with a .915 save percentage and a 1.90 goals against average.
Considering Golden Knights goalies Adin Hill and Logan Thompson are 27 and 26, respectively, and 24-year-old Jiri Patera has shown some promise at the AHL level (just don’t look at his current stats), the spot between the pipes in Vegas may be set for many years to come.
As one might expect for the veteran-laden defending Stanley Cup champions, the Golden Knights’ farm system isn’t teeming with exciting prospects at the moment. But plenty of reason for optimism resides in Sweden right now, where Edstrom and Lindbom appear surprisingly close to being ready for the challenges of North American hockey.