May 12, 2020

Exclusive: We caught up with Rangers prospect Adam Edström to talk about his season and future

Adam Edström (Newsday Photo)

Over the last few years, the New York Rangers have regularly shopped in Sweden at the draft. Last year was no different. No, I am not talking about Karl Henriksson who was selected in the 2nd round. A few hours later, in the 6th round, Jeff Gorton and company drafted 18-year old big forward Adam Edström 161st overall.

I had a chance to sit down with “Edan” as his teammates call him and discuss the last 12 months. What a roller coaster ride it has been for the Swede who is now part of an ever-growing Swedish Rangers family. Back in June, everyone was focused on the Rangers drafting 2nd overall and the whole world knew they would walk up to the stage with 1 name in mind: Kaapo Kakko. And while the draft will be remembered for that moment for years to come, it was the following day where the Rangers added the person I had the pleasure of sitting down with. It was a great day for Adam and his family.

A crazy summer

Not expected to be drafted, Edström watched at home in Sweden that Saturday. I was in Vancouver myself and was able to get in touch with all but 2 of the players picked by the Blueshirts, Edström was one of them. However being surrounded by his family when the news broke was the 2nd best scenario for him.

From left to right: Simon Kjellberg, Jakob Ragnarsson, Nils Lundkvist, Olof Lindbom, Karl Henriksson and Adam Edström)

Following the draft, he made the trip to New York to join the other prospects for the development camp, together with the other draft absentee Karl Henriksson. At camp it was a gathering of Swedes with a total of 6 joining other prospects such as Vitali Kravtsov, Zac Jones, Matthew Robertson, K’Andre Miller, Leevi Aaltonen and of course Kaapo Kakko. It was an experience he cherishes.

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Back to Sweden

When he returned to Sweden he joined his new team Rögle BK after making the move from Mora. Initially expected to spend the majority of the season in SuperElit (the Swedish junior league), he surprised everyone by earning a spot on the team. He would end up playing a total of 46 games in the Swedish Hockey League, more than another other player from the 2019 draft. Unfortunately, the season was cut short due to the global COVID-19 pandemic so we will never know how his season would have ended going into the playoffs.

He and his team finished top-4 which means qualification for next season’s Champions Hockey League. Filling a 3rd line role on one of Sweden’s top teams as a teenager is impressive and it’s a good sign of things to come. Edström is a big guy who doesn’t shy away from delivering a hit. When asked who he compares himself to, he was quick to answer: “Josh Anderson and Brian Boyle”. For Ranger fans that last name should bring back some great memories. As mentioned before, he played more SHL games than any other D+1 player, and while this is in part due to him not being called up for the u20 national team, it’s still a great accomplishment from a kid who wasn’t even expected to be drafted in the first place. He has made some good strides, and will continue to do so.

How he got here

Edström grew up a fan of Färjestad and as a kid, his favourite player was former Minnesota Wild player Rickard Wallin. The name may not ring a bell to most Ranger fans, but in Sweden, and especially in Karlstad where Edström grew up, Wallin is well-known, playing over 500 games across 11 seasons, and stretching a period of 18 years. Edström was a huge fan of the team that he battled with for the top spots this season. He played for Hammarö HC until he was 15, before he made the move to Mora, roughly 150 miles North of his hometown.

With Mora, he played at a higher level and in 2018-19, he made his debut at the highest level, playing a total of 15 games for the team that faced relegation. Despite the team being relegated to the 2nd level of pro hockey, HockeyAllsvenskan, Edström impressed the scouts from Rögle enough to stay in the SHL, he briefly played with another Rangers prospect, Jakob Ragnarsson.

What’s next?

My expecation is that Edström will play in the SHL for 2 more years before the Rangers have to make a decision, but if his progression is any indication, it could very well lead to an audition at the Garden in a few years. The teams in Sweden have started practice in preparation for the new season, about 3-4 weeks ago and Edström is happy to be back at it. While the pandemic doesn’t impact Sweden that much (there is no lockdown), Edström says he is more conscious about hygiene and keeping his distance from large groups. The maximum allowed to group together in Sweden is 50 people

When we talked about the Champions Hockey League, for which his team qualified for the very first time, a possiblity to catch up was discussed. Living in Vienna, I try to attend games either in Austria, Germany or the Czech Republic when Swedish teams play there. So, depending on the draw I may be able to catch up with “Edan” soon.

When asked about his future with the Rangers, Edström is cautious. He really enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity he was given by the Rangers to be part of their prospect development camp, and will work hard to reach the NHL which is every player’s goal. When asked about his number, he indicated number 34 will probably be his choice, so unless we trade for Auston Matthews in the next few years, he should be able to pick the number he has used since making his pro debut.

I would like to thank Adam Edström for taking the time to sit down and discuss his year. We at Forever Blueshirts wish him all the best for this upcoming season.

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