Red Wings prospect and Rogle BK defenseman William Wallinder spoke with SHL.se’s Sixen Funqvist as Wallinder attempts to stick with his SHL employer after spending last season with MODO Hockey of the Allsvenskan, the second-highest-level league in Sweden. Here’s a rough translation of Funqvist’s article:
“I will probably play more on instinct”
In the series of articles, “Welcome to the SHL,” we get to know a player or coach from each team in the SHL who’s making their SHL Debut. In this edition, we meet Rogle BK defenseman William Wallinder.
In North America, he’s beginning to attract more and more attention. But those who want him can now contact the Detroit Red Wings, who drafted William Wallinder in the second round (52nd overall) during the 2020 draft. The NHL and a North American adventure seem to belon in his future. But the SHL and Rogle are his present. The native of Solleftea, Sweden has come here after some great seasons with MODO Ornskoldsvik in the Allsvenskan.
“I followed Rogle last season, and they looked very good. They played good and exciting hockey. And I only heard good things about the Abbott brothers down here,” says the 19-year-old when SHL.se calls. “They were very welcoming and welcomed me with open arms, so to speak. It was hard to say ‘no.'”
He’s starting to feel at home in Angelholm now. Soon, he will have lived in Skane in Southern Sweden for six months.
“Well, I moved down here in March. It’s really nice here. It’s a good summer town. It’s nice to be able to go down to the beach, and it’s been fun to meet everyone who’s joined the team. It’s a really nice city,” he says with enthusiasm.
There’s a familiar connection between Rogle and Detroit as Detroit had a hand in the game when Moritz Seider, who was named the SHL’s best defender last season, landed in Angelholm.
“Detroit told me a little about how things are here; they had Seider here last year. They had good contact with Rogle even then, and they gave me some good tips on how it was going to be, and so on,” the 19-year-old explains.
On the ice
Last season, Wallinder played in 43 games in the Allsvenskan. During these, he averaged 15:56 per game, and accounted for one goal and five assists. It’s worth noting, however, that he also had 61 shots on goal. Only Jesper Lindgren had more shots among MODO’s defensemen.
And when we get into discussing his game, we start with the question: how do you describe yourself as a player?
“I’m an offensive two-way defender who likes to get involved, to follow the attack and create offense. I’m a good skater. I’m very mobile and maneuverable.”
As stated, in this series of articles, we’ve talked to players who have entered the SHL from the Allsvenskan. They tend to mention that the pace picks up in the SHL, and that it requires more from them. Wallinder has his views on the matter:
“I think a lot lies with accuracy. It’s important to play the right way. I haven’t thought in such terms, though. It’s clear that I will get less ice time, but it’s just a matter of being careful out there. You usually do everything at top speed here. It’s important to adapt to that,” he reasons.
According to the official stats, Wallinder is 193 centimeters tall [6’3″] and 86 kilograms [183 pounds]. But that’s not entirely true: “I think I’m 194 or 195 centimeters tall now, ha ha,” says Wallinder, chuckling.
How do you adapt out there on the ice with your gap control, and so on?
“It will probably have to do more with playing on instinct, on feeling. I don’t think as much. But I don’t know what I would have done differently, now that we’re talking about it. On the ice it just comes naturally, just driving on the ice.”
Finally, what do you do to get away from hockey?
“I watch movies or TV series.”
Do you have any favorites?
“I’m not sure, I watch something every day. It would be a lot of things. But no one stands out. It’s all good.”
If all goes well, William Wallinder will make his SHL debut when Rogle travels to Orebro on September 11th for the SHL premiere. The puck drops that day at 6 PM, Swedish time.