Interview with Wilhelm WestlundEurolanche did the interview with a Swedish defenseman Wilhelm Westlund, the Colorado Avalanche selection at the NHL Entry Draft 2013.
Wilhelm Westlund (born in 1995) was picked by the Colorado Avalanche organization in the 7th round, 183rd place overall, at this year´s draft. He was the sole European player chosen by the Avs. Wilhelm is a member of the Färjestad organization in Sweden. He joined them when he was 15 years old. For the next three seasons, he played for two junior teams of that organization (under-18 and -20).
Westlund´s best season so far was his last one when he scored 3 goals and gained 12 assists for 15 points in 33 games for the U20 Färjestad team. Moreover, he made a debut in the elite Swedish league (SHL) for the senior team of Färjestad. He appeared in 26 games and scored 1 goal there.
In the upcoming season Wilhelm will play for Färjestad senior team and maybe for the U20 team as well. If he keeps his great shape from the last season, he will stay in the SHL longer and even could represent the national junior team of Sweden at the next world junior championship. You can follow Wilhelm on Twitter @WestlundWilhelm.
Eliteprospects.com about Westlund: A smart and pretty skilled two-way defenseman. Was able to log pretty big minutes in the SHL at an early age. Skates well, is agile, and has soft hands and good puck moving ability. Hasn't got many stand-out skills, but does most things rather well.
You were picked by the Avalanche organization in the 7th round of this year´s draft. What were your feelings? Weren´t you disappointed that you were drafted in the last round?
No, you never know. I just felt great to be drafted.
What were your own expectations of the draft? Did you think you would hear your name sooner than in the 7th round?
I can say I hoped that. It is hard to say at which round you would be drafted, it is up other guys.
Why you didn´t visit the draft in person?
I wasn´t supposed to be drafted in the 1st or 2nd round, so I was at home and practice instead.
Did you watch the draft in the night?
I couldn´t find any live stream, so I followed it on the website name-by-name.
What did you do when you saw that you were drafted by the NHL team?
Actually I fall asleep in the 5th round. I saw it in the morning when I woke up. It was night in Sweden.
Did you worry about not being drafted by anybody?
When I fall asleep I was little worry about it, it (draft) was too long. When I woke up, I was happy.
Why did you choose to stay in Sweden and not going to the USA or Canada when you were 16 as for example Gabriel Landeskog did?
I think that my hockey career went really good last year. I feel it like I have to take couple of steps here in Sweden this year. I think it was best for me to stay here.
Do you think that Swedish junior league is at the same level of quality as CHL?
I don´t know, I´m not sure. Now I am playing with the elite team in the SHL, but I don´t think the local junior league is at the same level as in North America, but it is still good here in Sweden.
How do you remember on your first game in the elite league in Sweden?
Of course it was big difference when you play juniors and when you play in SHL. There (SHL) are more people, it is better hockey. I was little bit nervous. It was great.
Can you describe us your playing style?
I am two-day defenseman, good skating, good first passes, good hockey sense.
What you would like to improve?
I would like to be a little bit tougher on the ice and maybe improve my shot.
What is your biggest success in your career so far?
First game in the SHL and first goal there. And to play for the national team in Sweden.
Will you play at the World Junior Championships this year?
I don´t know. Team hasn´t announced the roster yet.
If there is no place for you on the Avalanche roster in the future, will you try to fight for the spot in the AHL or will you stay in the Swedish league?
I can´t answer right now. This year and next year maybe I will stay in Färjestad and after that we will see. I´m not sure now. Time will tell.
Your two older brothers, Wiking and Alexander also play a hockey. How are they doing and where they will play in the upcoming season?
My oldest brother Alexander doesn´t play anymore, just studying. My other brother Wiking has no team right now, he just started studying at the college.
What was your favorite NHL team and player when you were kid?
When I was a kid I watched a lot Nicklas Lidstrom, but I didn´t have any team that I would prefer more or less. That´s was my favorite player.
How did you spend your summer?
I was at home in Sweden, practicing a lot with Färjestad and by my own. It was hard practice summer.
Sources of photos: Westlund´s Twitter, nwt.se a cdn.shl.se
David Puchovsky, Slovakia, firstname.lastname@example.org
06/09/2013 - 18:00