The Detroit Red Wings will have additional opportunities to evaluate Magnus Hellberg if they are considering him to be one of their goalies for next season.
Hellberg said after earning a 20-save win against the New Jersey Devils that he has accepted an invitation to play for Sweden at the upcoming World Championships in Finland. He also played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics.
“You always want to play and to have an opportunity to represent your country. It is something I value really high,” Hellberg said. “So when I get the chance to do that of course I’m really excited about that. I had a chance to be in the Olympics a couple of months ago and that was a blast. It’s a great honor to have the opportunity to put on the Swedish jersey.”
Hellberg, 31, joins eight other members of the Detroit organization at the World Championships. Coach Jeff Blashill will be an assistant for Team USA, and trainer Pete VanZant will also be on that staff. Alex Nedeljkovic will be one of the American goalies. Lucas Raymond will be with Hellberg on the Swedish squad. Moritz Seider (Germany), Pius Suter (Switzerland), Jakub Vrana and Filip Hronek (Czech Republic) are other Red Wings planning to play in the World Championships.
Friday’s win was Hellberg’s first NHL game in five years. It was also his first competitive game in more than two months.
“I’m pretty hard on myself but I know how I feel when I play at the top of my game,” Hellberg said. “I think it’s been awhile. Of course there’s a lot of stuff I can improve but that’s how it goes. Sometimes you feel great, sometimes you gotta battle through it. For not playing in a couple of months, I’m happy with how it went. I think they scored two deflection goals there. Two good goals. Obviously I don’t want to let in any goals but it was fun to be out there.”
Hellberg was only with the Red Wings for two weeks, and coaches didn’t get to see much of him because there were few practices. The World Championships may give the Red Wings more chances to see him in game action.
The Kontinental Hockey League veteran made it clear Friday that he hopes to sign with Detroit. But he hasn’t had conversations with GM Steve Yzerman about extending his contract.
“I wouldn’t lie. Of course. I’ve been here a couple of weeks,” Hellberg said. “I got to see the facilities and got to know the staff around the team and the guys. I think Detroit has a really bright future and of course it would be a place that I would like to be a part of in the future. So we’ll see what happens. I can just do my part and then we’ll see what happens. I’ve had a blast these last couple of weeks I’ve been here.”