|2021 C&B Staff Rank||2021 C&B Reader Rank|
The countdown rolls on into the teens. Today’s Top 25 under 25 player checks in at number 17 with Filip Berglund. Readers polled him at a more modest 19th. He jumps four spots from last year’s #21 ranking, it will be his last time on the countdown as he will turn 25 in 2022.
A Swedish defenceman listed at 6’2” and 205, Berglund was taken in the third round of the 2016 entry draft. A right shot defencemen, he’s ready to make his mark in the AHL this year after years of playing near his home. A two-way defenceman, Berglund isn’t going to light the scoreboard on fire like some of the players on Edmonton’s blue line right now. Berglund was loaned back to Sweden after signing a two year ELC with the Oilers in May of last year, where he skated in 32 games and scoring eight points with his new club in Linkoping. Berglund finished third on the club in minutes per game. He’s very good at getting the puck out of his zone, and he should challenge for big minutes in Bakersfield given that this is his year to sell himself to the Oilers for a future deal.
At age 24, we are approaching Berglund’s “best-by” date when it comes to a future in the NHL. Not getting time in camp last year (through no fault of his own) likely didn’t help his situation, and he’ll no doubt leave it all on the ice in the upcoming weeks.
Berglund will look to have a big season for Bakersfield in 2021-22 which forces Ken Holland’s hand into another deal ahead. Berglund doesn’t scored a ton of points, so being able to shutdown the play in his own zone is going to drive whether or not he sees another contract in 2022. The club may covet this player, as the number of two-way defencemen aren’t bubbling over in the prospect pipeline at this time. Time will tell.
Assuming something wacky doesn’t happen at camp, he’ll get a good shot in Bakersfield this year. What he does with it will determine his future with the Oilers in 2022.