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Edmonton Oilers 2018 Top 25 Under 25: #17 William Lagesson

Checking in on the Swedish Defenseman

Background and History

Drafted in 2014, William Lagesson was selected 91st overall. Lagesson is now a 22 year old defenseman who played his last season for Djurgardens IF on a loan. Lagesson has appeared in the Top 25 Under 25 multiple times since his draft; last year, he checked in at 20th.

Lagesson spent his last season playing in Sweden. The Oilers have announced that in the 2018-2019 season, Lagesson will join the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL. This is the next step in Lagesson’s development and will be key to evaluating his NHL potential. Previous to his stint in Sweden, Lagesson played at U Mass Amherst in the NCAA.

At 6’2” and 203 lbs, Lagesson is a fair sized defenseman. One of two areas which might concern the Oilers is the fact he shoots left. The Oilers have a fair number of defenseman who shoot left already in their system at various levels.

Lagesson has been characterized as a shutdown defenseman who plays a physical game and has the potential to be a decent two-way defender. His ability to move the puck up the ice is a noted strength, but his lack of point production has many wary of what Lagesson is bringing to the Oilers.

The Copper and Blue team have mixed opinions on Lagesson. His ranking varies from 12 at the highest to 20 at the lowest. The fact that Lagesson doesn’t put up a lot of points and spent his last year in Sweden may have impacted the decision making process for some.

Why He Made the List

While not at the top of the depth chart for Oilers left shooting defensemen, Lagesson is still in the mix. His strong stats at Djurgardens help his case. He finished third in points for defensemen on his team with 13 points in 49 games. He also logged a lot of time on ice. He played an average of 19:27 minutes for Djurgardens. Over the course of his time in Djurgardens, Lagesson established himself as a reliable defender. Assessments of Lagesson’s time in Sweden indicate that he established himself as a first pair defenseman in the SHL.

While the SHL isn’t the NHL, it does provide some indication of Lagesson’s potential. He’s played on the international scene for Sweden and done well and seems to be a capable shut down defender who isn’t too rattled by playing against the top lines of other teams. Able to move the puck and play physically, Lagesson can be expected to see potential top four minutes for the Condors. Lagesson can also be expected to turn a few heads with strong play on the penalty kill and a defensive mindset that some Oilers prospects seem to lack.

Currently, he slots in behind Caleb Jones – still to come on the Top 25 Under 25 – on the left side at an AHL level, but that might change depending on performance of both players. Considering as many variables as possible, Lagesson is a defensive defender who appears to have the potential to contribute the Oilers if he can make the transition to the smaller ice and faster style of the NHL.

Why He Made the List at 17

Lagesson is 17th on the list partly because we’re divided here at Copper and Blue. His ranking ended up being a sort of split the difference situation. Lagesson is unproved in North America and he’s stuck behind some pretty big names in the Oilers defensive depth chart – Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse being the two that have the potential to be the longest term obstacles to finding NHL success. Lagesson might end up being attractive trade bait for the Oilers as well. If Lagesson adapts well, it may make sense for the Oilers to see what kind of return Lagesson can net them.

This is a make or break year for Lagesson. How he performs for the Condors this year will help inform the course of Lagesson’s trajectory with the Oilers. If he plays well, he might find himself as an emergency call up to the NHL at some point in the season. A poor season will see him fall behind other defensive prospects on the left side.

Lagesson’s fate is in his own hands and it will certainly be interesting to watch.