The Oilers signed 23 year old right-handed D Filip Berglund to a two-year, entry-level contract in May — but not before he signed a one-year deal with Linköping HC in Sweden’s top tier in March — which means he’ll spend the rest of 2020-21 in the SHL before likely coming to North America for the 2021-22 season.
2019 Rank: #23
Berglund was the last player drafted in the third round of the 2016 Entry Draft, with a pick the Oilers acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of the Justin Schultz trade. At the time, he was considered a two-way player with a good hockey IQ and a plus point shot. His skating was a concern and scouts were hoping he could leverage his size and strength to his advantage more consistently.
“He’s one of the better second-time eligibles coming from Europe, had great progression from last year. Has the makings of a big two-way defenseman, I like that he has some skill and vision with the puck on top of that big frame, there’s some offensive upside in him.”
- NHL Draft Black Book
Since then, his offensive development has been modest, but he’s continued to be trusted by his coaches to play top four minutes. In 2019-20 with Skellefteå AIK, he managed career highs across the board with 5-15-20 in 52 GP as a 22 year old.
This year, Berglund appears to be off that pace with his new team, Linköping HC, as his 1-2-3 in 11 GP means he’ll have to kick it up a notch if he wants to match last year’s totals, and he’s carrying a minus (I know, I know) for the first time since 2014-15. But it’s still early. Factor in the global pandemic that everyone is trying to navigate, realize that this is the first year he’s playing outside of the Skellefteå system in at least 8 years, and perhaps there’s obvious an explanation for his slower start this season: shit is crazy right now.
Whether he ultimately has a good 2020-21 or not — and assuming the AHL continues to exist — Berglund should be in North America next season playing in Bakersfield. He will likely remain there all year as a mainstay in their top four, playing big minutes in all situations so the Oilers can get a good grasp of what he can do before they entertain re-signing him again in 2022.