The San Jose Sharks officially loaned their 2022 first-round draft pick, center Filip Bystedt, back to Linköping HC of the Swedish Hockey League on Thursday.
Bystedt, 19, has played a combined 60 regular season games for Linköping over the last two years. Last season, had 20 points in 45 games, finishing third in scoring among SHL forwards age 20 or younger, and was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract by the Sharks in June.
Bystedt, born in Norrkoping, Sweden, also tied for his country’s team lead in points with 10 (four goals, six assists) at the World Junior Championships last winter. Sweden fell in the bronze medal game to the U.S., but Bystedt scored a tying goal late in that game to force overtime.
Bystedt, chosen 27th overall last year, is eligible to play for the Barracuda, San Jose’s AHL affiliate. But general manager Mike Grier told this news organization via text message that the team feels Bystedt’s development would be best served by remaining in Sweden.
At the Sharks’ development camp in July, Bystedt said he was still unsure as to where he would play this upcoming season — Sweden or San Jose. However, he did feel there were elements of his game he needed to work on to become a full-time professional in North America, playing on the smaller ice surface.
“It’s a bit of everything,” he said. “I want to get faster, (using) a lot of the summer to get faster, small details around the rims, and everything like that.”
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Bystedt has played in three of Linköping’s preseason games this month, including a game on Thursday, as either the team’s first or second-line center. He has one goal.
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The Sharks’ main training camp remains approximately four weeks away and their first preseason game is Sept. 24 at home against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Before camp, several Sharks prospects will take part in the Rookie Faceoff event in Las Vegas from Sept. 15 to 18. The host Golden Knights plus the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, and Los Angeles Kings will also take part.