By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
Boston Bruins prospect Victor Berglund was slated to start his North American pro career last fall, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, he was better off staying in his home country and continue to develop. With countries getting vaccinated at an aggressive rate and travel restrictions alleviating worldwide, there’s no reason Victor won’t be involved in this year’s Bruins offseason training activities at the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts.
The 21-year-old Berglund is a 6′-0″ 180-pound blueliner that was selected by the Bruins in the seventh round of the 2017 National Hockey League Entry Draft (195th Overall) and has spent a majority of his developmental career over in Sweden either with the Modo Hockey Allsvenskan club or the pro level Lulea HF where he was on loan from the Boston Bruins for the 2020-21 campaign. In Victor’s final year at the Allsvenskan level (2019-20) he posted 10-12-22 numbers in 52 games played. Last season (2021-21) with Lulea, Berglund went 4-17-21 in 50 games in the Swedish Hockey League. Berglund has played in the AHL previously when his European commitment was over in the spring of 2018-19 to join the Providence club and per EliteProspects.com he appeared in four games producing 1-1-2 numbers.
I know many Bruins fans saw the height and weight mention in the above paragraph and shook their heads, saying, here we go with another undersized defenseman, but he’s a solid prospect on the backend and deserving of system molding. Berglund is a fast blueliner that is capable of jumping to the offense and add that layered scoring touch to any defensive six-member crew. There seems to be a trend of Bruins drafting or signing bigger defensive bodies while complementing the other side of the blue line with a smaller puck handler who has a jump and can transition quickly.
Now, I’m not saying Victor is this outstanding blueliner that’s going to make the NHL right out of camp, and he’s the missing piece we needed this past season, but he’s a great asset and middle-depth project for sustainability. I have a feeling Berglund is going to have a solid training camp this fall at the Warrior, but he’ll most likely play his first full season of North American pro hockey with the B’s minor-pro affiliate, the Providence Bruins.
One thing I’m excited to see is his potential arrival in the AHL to get better used to the 200X85 foot hockey game where things can be a bit tighter over open ice playing International hockey overseas. I believe and will continue to back the theory of every Boston prospect spending at least a year in the American Hockey League for the system overview and be a sponge but arguably the style of play in the second or third best professional league in the world.
Maybe I’m selfish in Berglund’s arrival. I mean, with his skating ability and offensive prowess, I’m seriously looking forward to his addition to the Providence blue line with names such as Jack Ahcan, Brady Lyle, Urho Vaakanainen, and big Nick Wolff if the club chooses to re-sign him for future services. This Providence defense has been one to watch orchestrated by Jay Leach, who’s done a tremendous job in the past several seasons with the B’s affiliate.
There’s a reason why he’s always brought up in new NHL coaching hires lists. Leach will get a job as an NHL bench boss someday, either with Boston or somewhere else in the top league in the world. The AHL Bruins Defense has been on par with the direction needed for mid-level sustainability. I’m looking forward to a full season starting in October over the small sample size 25 game regular season against Bridgeport and Hartford as your only divisional rivals last season.
Berglund has an explosive shot when he has the opportunity to rip a clapper off. He’s good on the man-advantage where more ice is available to work the half wall or move laterally along the blue line. One thing I noticed in a few games I watched last season via hockey game streams was his passing, particularly the stretch pass. His vision and hockey IQ is something you want to continue to develop on, and I believe Head Coach Leach for the defensive aspect, but Assistant and former player Trent Whitfield can work with him extensively to learn more about the North American game with and without the puck.
If Victor makes it to Providence, of course, he could definitely be on the second power-play with Ahcan and Lyle getting most of the work with heavy special team minutes. He could also be a threat without the puck on the penalty kill for the speed factor and retrieving pucks to lob them out of the zone to kill time or look for a lane to another player with a little more open ice.
Berglund has the upside to be an all-situational defenseman with his defensive and offensive capabilities and is a solid project moving forward. Like I said previously, I’m not talking up a prospect but rather welcome a talented player to home base scouting eyes here in New England and where a player like Victor fits into a lineup scenario in the future. I will say if I had to compare, but he does play like Torey Krug where his game could be so beneficial on the man-advantage, but that remains to be seen, of course.