2010-11: Axel Holmstrom skated for Skelleftea at the U18 and U16 levels as a 14-year-old and played for Vasterbotten in the TV Pucken tournament for high school players in Sweden. In three games with the top division U16 team he scored 1 goal with 1 assist. Holmstrom had no points nor penalties in eight games during the TV-Pucken tournament for the bronze medal Vasterbotten squad.
2011-12: Holmstrom appeared in five games with the Skelleftea U18 team, including four playoff games, and was an assistant captain with the Skelleftea U16 team. He scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was +3 with no penalties. Holmstrom was an assistant captain for Vasterbotten in his second TV-Pucken tournament. In eight games he scored 6 goals with 15 assists and was +12 with no penalties as Vasterbotten captured the gold medal.
2012-13: Holmstrom played 14 games, including four playoff games, with the Skelfeftea U20 team, and was the leading scorer for the Skelleftea U18 team. He scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was +4 with no penalty minutes in SuperElit league play. Holmstrom scored 16 goals with 48 assists and was +30 with 6 penalty minutes in 31 regular season games for the Skeleftea U18 team. In eight playoff games he scored 3 goals with 8 assists and was +6 with 4 penalty minutes. He played five games with the Sweden U17 team and was minus-1 with 2 goals and 2 assists.
2013-14: Holmstrom made his SHL debut — appearing in four regular season games with the Skelleftea men’s team in December — and was one of the club’s U20 team’s leading scorers; skating for the Sweden U18 team in the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and 2014 World Junior Championship tournaments. He was minus-2 with no points nor penalties, averaging six minutes of ice time, in SHL play. Holmstrom skated in 35 games, including two playoff contests, for the Skelleftea U20 team. He scored 15 goals with 23 assists and was +18 with 12 penalty minutes. Holmstrom had 1 assist and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes in four games at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament and led all skaters at the World Juniors with a +8 plus/minus, scoring 3 goals with 8 assists and 4 penalty minutes. Sweden finished fourth after a bronze medal game loss to Canada. Holmstrom was ranked 90th amongst international skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Detroit in the seventh round (196th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
2014-15: Holmstrom attended the Red Wings’ prospect camp in July 2014 before returning to Sweden for his first SHL season with Skelleftea. He played for the Sweden U20 team in the 2015 World Juniors Championship. One of eight skaters to score at least 10 goals for Skelleftea, the league’s dominant team, he scored 10 goals with 10 assists and was +6 with 4 penalty minutes, skating in 44 of 55 regular season games and averaging 12 minutes of ice time. Holmstrom and teammate Andrew Calof scored 3 goals with 4 assists each in the club’s first five playoff games, trailing only Linkoping’s Broc Little (3 goals, 8 assists in seven games) for the points lead. Holmstrom scored 1 goal with 6 assists and was -2 in seven games for Sweden at the WJC. Holmstrom signed a three-year entry-level contract with Detroit in June 2015.
2015-16: Holmstrom skated in 48 regular season games for Skelleftea in his second SHL season and skated for the Sweden U20 team in the 2016 World Junior Championship. He scored 8 goals with 15 assists and was -3 with 20 penalty minutes, averaging 13:16 minutes of ice time. Skelleftea finished first in the regular season and advanced to the playoff finals against Frolunda. Holmstrom scored 2 goals with 4 assists in his first 10 playoff games and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes, averaging 12:39 minutes of ice time. He scored 1 goal with 5 assists and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes in seven games at the World Juniors for Sweden. Sweden finished fourth, falling to the USA in the bronze medal game.
Holmstrom has the ability to play with pace and energy befitting his projection as an eventual third line center in the NHL. He has good offensive upside, having posted impressive statistics both in junior hockey and in his first season of SHL play with Skelleftea. To take a step forward he must work on his skating, which at the moment is slow. Holmstrom is viewed at times as a perimeter player and isn't overly physical. Has he matures and adds more strength that may be less of an issue.
Holmstrom had another strong season with SHL regular season champion Skelleftea as a 19-year-old in 2015-16. Playing a regular role for the club in his second season, he also played for Sweden in his second World Juniors tournament. Holmstrom was a late round selection by Detroit in the 2014 NHL Draft due to a perceived lack of physical strength and subpar skating technique. His offensive production both in Sweden and in international junior play suggest those concerns may have been overstated.