What Is The Plan For Ludwig Bystrom And His Jump To North America?

Jamie Sabau

Whats the plan for Dallas Stars prospect Ludwig Bystrom?

The Dallas Stars appear to like their European defenseman and in the past few years have drafted some very interesting players. They appear to have some good, servicable NHL talent.

Names like Patrick Nemeth, Jyrki Jokipakka, John Klingberg and Ludwig Bystrom are a few that are in the system currently. Nemeth and Jokipakka are with the Texas Stars while both Bystrom and Klingberg remain in their native Sweden.

I wrote about the timetable for John Klingberg to reach North America quite early in November. What about the other highly touted European prospect - Ludwig Bystrom?

Ludwig Bystrom was considered a first round talent who the Stars managed to snag at 43rd overall back in the 2012 NHL Draft. I even went back and reread what was written about him back on draft day.

So where is Bystrom now? Well he has shifted around a lot since he was drafted back in 2012. He decided against the opportunity to join the Plymouth Whalers after he was selected by them in the CHL Import Draft in 2012. Instead, he remained in Sweden, something that is probably working out for the best now.

He played 30 games in the SHL for MODO in 2012-13 and had three goals and three assists in that time and was bounced around to the J20 for 8 games before finally being loaned to Orebro.

The move to Orebro was a bad one as he joined a team in the Allsvenska (the second league of the professional adult hockey leagues) which already had 8 serviceable defenseman available. He didn't get the ice time he was sent there to get, and he even played a few games at forward.

He wasn't selected for the Swedish WJC team and was passed over for Robert Hagg (a draft eligible rookie defenseman on the same team). Considering the injuries that the Swedish blueline had, it was a surprise that he was passed over.

The 2013-2014 season, so far, appears to be a much better one for Bystrom. First, he left MODO and joined another SHL team, Farjestad, and has become a permanent feature on their blueline.

He is no longer getting bounced around or simply riding the bench for entire games without touching the ice once. Bystrom has spent most of his time this season on Farjestad's third defensive pairing and has occasionally played extended stints on their second unit.

He's averaging around 18 minutes of ice time per game and has seven points in 21 games so far this season. If you have the time available, it's worth sitting and watching his highlights on the SHL website.

Bystrom appears to be a highly talented young defenseman. But what would be best for his development? He's currently playing what will probably be his first full season in the SHL. How soon should he come over to North America?

I've always felt that caution and time is better for a prospect than being rushed into a situation that they can't handle yet, a situation that might actually limit their ceiling rather than raise their floor. So how should the Stars handle Bystrom?

Bystrom is getting the ice time that he needs to develop. He's getting a good amount of ice time, 16-18 minutes per game is nothing to be sneered at, especially when the Swedish league is pretty good in its own right.

Would he get that ice time if he made the jump to North America and played in Cedar Park? No.

If I were to guess when he makes the eventual jump, I'd probably guess it would be for the 2016-2017 season. He's getting that ice time, and as he develops, it is only likely to go up. He'll play against men in Sweden, and he'll hone both his defensive and offensive games.

That's two more seasons of going up the depth chart and honing his game and getting better, just like John Klingberg, a prospect who many thought should have made the jump earlier but is now getting lots of minutes and is looking a very good prospect. Giving him that extra year to develop won't risk his potential.

Ludwig Bystrom is another Swedish talent that will have to be watched carefully, but for now, I don't think we'll see him in North America for a few more years.

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