Swedish Defencman William Lagesson ranks 13th on our top 25 under 25 list. He turns 25 this coming February, so it’ll be his final year on the list.
Lagesson was originally drafted by the Oilers in the 4th round of the 2014 draft. Here’ what elite prospects had to say about him at the time of his draft.
This is my second time writing the Lagesson article for our yearly countdown, and he’s trended up since we ranked him 20th three years ago.
At the time of that article, I was lower on Lagesson than most of our writers, and my skepticism was founded mostly on the lack of his offensive upside.
Lagesson has always been a solid defensive defenceman, and I’ve felt for a while that he was the type of guy who could eventually end up on the Oilers’ third pairing, playing fine, not contributing much offensively, but not looking bad either.
There’s certainly value in that type of player, but it’s just not the most exciting scouting report for a prospect, because the thing that excites most people (myself included) is not a prospect’s floor, or even their most likely career projection. Everyone likes to think about a prospect’s ceiling. And, three years ago, I wasn’t particularly hyped about a player who I saw as a high floor/low ceiling prospect.
But, Lagesson has made some strides in that regard. this season, he’s playing in HockeyAllsvenskan, the second highest pro league in Sweden, behind the SHL, and he’s actually producing admirably in the offensive zone. Through 12 games, Lagesson has recorded nearly a point-per-game, 3 goals and 8 assists in 12 games, to go along with a +7 rating, for whatever that’s worth.
In the past five seasons, Lagesson has proven to be a useful contributor across a multitude of high level hockey leagues. After playing with the UMass Minutemen (the worst FBS program in the country, good hockey school, though) from 2015-17, he’s spent 60 games (including playoffs) in the SHL, 102 games (including 10 playoff games) in Bakersfield of the AHL, and even 8 NHL games with the big club last year.
In his two years with Bakersfield, Lagesson’s 102 game sample saw him produce 13 goals, 41 points, and a +29 rating. That plus/minus is the highest among all Condors defencemen since the start of the 2018-19 season.
Because he’s almost 25, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a great deal of further development from Lagesson. He has a decent chance of playing for the Oilers when their next season gets underway. He’ll probably play on the third pairing, or, at the very least be a seventh defenceman, and I have little doubt that he’ll be fine in that role.
He’s a borderline NHL level player, which is fine, considering where he was drafted. If he can contribute offensively near the near the level that he did in Bakersield, that should be considered a bonus, but it’s probably a lot to ask from him at the NHL level.
His production in the last three years is the most anyone could have hoped for, and, because of it, I see no reason that the 6’2’’ 207lb Lagesson can’t play solidly in a bottom-of-the-lineup role for the next five years or so. This fan base will likely develop a fondness for the rouged, yet steady Swede. Don’t expect him to light it up, but he’s an NHLer.