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Red Wings Prospect Wallinder Named EHC Young Player of Year

Wallinder is the third straight Detroit prospect to earn honor

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Red Wings defense prospect William Wallinder is the 2022-23 EHC Young Player of the Year.

It’s a threepeat for the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit defense prospect William Wallinder is the 2022-23 European Hockey Club’s Young Player of the Year.

Playing for Rogle of the SHL. Wallinder was selected as the winner from a group of finalists that also included top 2023 draft hopeful Leo Carlsson (Orebro Hockey, Sweden), Leevi Meriläinen (Karpat Oulu, Finland), Aku Räty (Ilves Tampere, Finland), and David Reinbacher (EHC Kloten, Switzerland).

This is the third straight year in which presentation of the award has gone to a Red Wings draft pick. In 2020-21, current Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider earned the recognition. Last season, Detroit forward Elmer Soderblom was the recipent of the honor.

Seider, like Wallinder, was playing defense for Swedish club Rogle during his award-winning campaign. The Red  Wings made Wallinder the 32nd overall selection of the 2020 NHL entry draft.

“It’s a great honor to win this prize, but it wasn’t easy because there are a lot of great young players in Europe,” Wallinder said. “It’s great for confidence – it makes you feel a lot better as a player and as a person.”

Wallinder To Play In North America Next Season

Wallinder will also be following Seider and Soderblom’s footprints in making the move to North America in the season following his award-winning year. Each of his predecessors wound up playing in Detroit in that first North American campaign. The Red Wings were signing him to a contract in March. He made his AHL debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

“Some of them have gone on to great NHL careers and that’s what I hope to do too,” Wallinder said of the previous winners. “So it’s an honor to join them.”

In just his second full SHL season, the 20-year-old Wallinder was establishing himself as Rogle’s top defenceman. The big (6-foot-4, 190 pound), smooth-skating, puck-carrying rearguard would prove to be a workhorse. His average ice time of 21:27 led his team and was 10th overall across the entire league.

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Offensively, Wallinder’s 26 points in 50 games put him 13th in the league among defencemen. It also tied him for top spot among all players 20 and under at any position. In the playoffs, he added three more points in nine games. In the Champions Hockey League he was even more prolific with eight points in nine games.