June 27, 2008

William Wallén to the OHL

The 2008 CHL Import Draft took place yesterday, the draft where the Canadian junior teams get a chance to pick European players. Six Swedes where drafted, with the two picks by Mississauga St. Michael's Majors of the OHL probably being the most interesting ones.

Their second round pick was defenseman Erik Karlsson, who was the first Swedish player to be picked in the 2008 NHL draft (14th overall by Ottawa). Mississauga probably decided to take a chance, like they did with André Petersson (selected by Ottawa in the 4th round in this year's NHL draft) last year. That time it didn't work, but time will tell if it will be a successful gamble this year.

Eugene Melnyk owns both Mississauga and Ottawa, which I guess could mean that Ottawa will push for a move to the OHL. Karlsson himself has said that he will discuss it with Ottawa after the development camp that he is participating in at the moment.

Forward William Wallén on the other hand, who Mississauga drafted in the first round, has already made a decision. His father, who also is his agent, has announced that William is planning on crossing the pond.

- William has always been interested in going over there and the only thing that stood in the way yesterday was if Mississauga wouldn't draft him, Peter Wallén tells Hockeymagasinet.com.

- Mississauga has been fantastic with presenting their organization and GM/Head coach Dave Cameron has really expressed their will of getting William. Dave has followed William very carefully and knows exactly what he will get from William.

Wallén is one of many promising Swedish players born in 1991. He is a very skillful forward with a knack for scoring goals. His small size (listed as 5'8"/170 lbs at Elite Prospects) has always been what people talk about, but he has kept on producing a lot of points on every level he has played at so far. He was for example above a point per game in his debut season in the Swedish U20 league last season and also in the games he played with the U17 and U18 Swedish national teams.

It should be interesting to see if he can follow in the footsteps of another Djurgården player, Oscar Möller, who raised his stocks significantly in his NHL draft year after a successful season with the Chilliwack Bruins of the WHL in the 06-07 season.

Here are all the Swedes drafted in this year's CHL Import Draft and what their plans are:

Round 1

14 - P.E.I. Rocket (QMJHL): Simon Olsson, C/LW, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Has apparently been looking to jump from the USHL, so he will most likely move.

16 - Mississauga (OHL): William Wallén, LW, Djurgården (Swedish U20)
Coming over this season, as said.

21 - Chilliwack Bruins (WHL): Alexander Viklund, LW, Luleå (
Swedish U20)
Haven't decided yet. Will listen to what Chilliwack has to say and discuss with the family.

42 - Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL): Stefan Warg, D, Västerås (
Swedish U20)
Will make his decision later on in the summer. Says he will go with his gut feeling.

Round 2

61 - Mississauga (OHL): Erik Karlsson, D, Frölunda (Swedish U20/SEL)
Will discuss with Ottawa after development camp.

77 - Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL): Jonathan Sääf, G, Borås (
Swedish U20)
Will according to the team play for them in 09-10 season.

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