Overagers: Third time could be charm for Wilsby
When it comes to draft eligibility, the third time may be the charm for Adam Wilsby.
The left-handed defenseman has played in many Swedish leagues during his draft eligible seasons, even getting in a total of 10 games in the SHL, but Wilsby really turned heads with his play for Sodertalje of Allsvenskan where he put up gaudy numbers after dominating the SuperElit U20 league.
Slotted in at No. 137 in FCHockey’s Final ranking for the 2020 NHL Draft, Wilsby has grown his game over the course of three seasons — enough so where it’s likely that he gets drafted this year.
The commitment Wilsby has shown to improve his play caught the eye of Swedish scout, Viktor Bergman.
“In my opinion, his game without the puck (has grown),” said Bergman, in his first season scouting with FCHockey. “Even if his defensive game needs improvement, he has improved his positioning at both ends, and his stick work, which gives him even more flexibility to be involved in the play.”
For a team to take a chance on a third-year eligible player, they are in the unique position to see how a prospect has developed and matured more so than first year and second year eligibles.
In the case of Wilsby, he appears to be a late bloomer and one who has NHL potential.
Time has been a friend to the 20-year-old, not his foe.
“I think he has NHL level talent,” Bergman began. “In my opinion, he has the potential to possibly be a third pair defenseman and a second power play quarterback in the NHL.”
Wilsby is a puck moving defensman with some good playmaking ability, as evidenced by his 27 assists last year.
With NHL teams preferring mobile and puck moving defensemen, it’s becoming easier to overlook some deficiencies in their own end.
“He certainly has some flaws in his own zone that he needs to work on. Even if he has improved his positioning, it could be even better, and he could add more to his physical play,” Bergman said.
For Wilsby, he still has work to do to improve his defensive play.
But it’s the offensive potential that mask his shortcomings.
And it’s Wilsby’s offensive play and skating ability that Bergman sees the potential.
“Wilsby’s strongest ability is in the offensive zone,” he started. “He has great puck moving skills and great vision, but I think his strongest ability is his skating.
“He is an excellent, smooth skater with good movement and footwork.”
Given his opportunity to play in the SHL going forward, it would make a lot of sense for an NHL team to take a chance on Wilsby in the later rounds.
Wilsby has given teams a good view of how much his game has grown and matured over the course of three years which should make many see the potential he possesses.