Evidently, Roger Ronnberg is joining Jeff Blashill as coaches with the future of the Detroit Red Wings in their hands who may soon be out of work.
Clearly, Blashill, coach of the 26-32-8 Red Wings, is on the hot seat with the way the club has faded during the second half of the season. Across the Atlantic Ocean in Sweden, Frolunda coach Roger Ronnberg is also skating on thin ice in terms of his job security.
Like the Red Wings, Frolunda went into free fall during the second half of the Swedish Hockey League season. A 2-7 skid dropped the team all the way to seventh place and a place in the playoffs was no longer secure. Ronnberg was citing persistent defensive miscues for the team’s failure, a familiar sounding theme to Red Wings fans.
“Extremely frustrating that the same pattern repeats itself again,” Ronnberg told told Rackapuckar.com. “We must be more difficult to score goals [against].”
There were calls for Ronnberg’s head and even he had to admit he was feeling the heat.
“Frolunda has very strong leaders – who support me,” Ronnberg told Goteborgs-Posten. “Otherwise I would have been fired. Absolutely.”
Much like Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman did when recently asked to comment on Blashill’s future, Frolunda chairman Matts Grauers dodged the question when queried regarding Ronnberg’s job security with the club.
“Those who work for us, we feel very strongly about them and have strong confidence in them,” Grauers told Rackapuckar.com. “We evaluate after the season.”
Ronnberg Mentor To Future Red Wings
Hailed for his work as a mentor, Ronnberg coached Red Wings rookie sensation Lucas Raymond last season and this year is in charge of the development of defenseman Simon Edvinsson, Detroit’s 2021 first-round pick, as well as forward Elmer Soderblom. Chosen 159th overall in 2019, Soderblom, 20, is leading Frolunda with 21 goals.
Simon Edvinsson defensive plays from the 2021-2022 season.
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) March 28, 2022
However, right-winger Theodor Niederbach, another Red Wings draftee – he was taken 51st overall in 2020 – is finding it to be a challenge to crack Frolunda’s lineup in a role of significance. There’s speculation that Niederbach will be loaned out to Rogle next season. That’s the same club where Red Wings draftee defenseman William Wallinder is playing. It’s also where Detroit defenseman and 2021-22 Calder Trophy favorite Moritz Seider was performing last season.
There is criticism from the Frolunda fanbase that the team is counting too much on young players who will soon leave for the NHL, instead of turning to Swedish League veterans.
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) March 20, 2022
“I turn it around,” Grauers said. “it is unbelievable that we get so many players that we do not have room for everyone. Somewhere it’s what the squad building looks like, and it’s hard to know.
“If there is a good center from below, if we already have five centers, then it is clear that then it is not very easy to handle. So that I see it instead that . . . damn, what many talented players we pick out. Then if they develop in someone else, yes . . . I might have preferred that it was with us, but it may not be practically possible.
Better Results Of Late
Speaking of turnarounds, Frolunda is staging one. The club won the last three games of the SHL regular season to claim fourth place in the standings. They’ll open a best-of-seven quarter-final playoff series with fifth-place Vaxjo on Friday, April 1.
Last season, Frolunda finished seventh and was swept in the quarter-finals by Rogle. There’s a sense that Ronnberg may be needing a playoff run to secure his job for next season.
“[This] is not something I want to talk about, no,” Grauers said of Ronnberg’s future. “But I feel very calm, I can say that.”