Red Wings of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Detroit Red Wings system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them as they advance through the Detroit organization. Today, we feature center/right wing Theodor Niederbach.
Position: Center/Right Wing
How Acquired: Selected 51st overall, 2020 NHL entry draft
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-P) 51-9-7-16 (with Frolunda HC)
Contract Status: Unsigned
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Rögle BK
No player in the Swedish Hockey League accomplished more with less opportunity to do so than Theodor Niederbach did with Frolunda during the 2021-22 season. He scored nine goals in 51 games while averaging just 10:53 of ice time per game. Niederbach skated in Frolunda’s bottom-six forwards and seldom saw any special teams duty.
Moving to Rögle BK for the 2022-23 campaign, opportunity to shine is clearly knocking for Niederbach.
“There are reasons why I come here,” Niederbach told SportExpressen. “It is a club that has been good in recent years and I know that it is a club that wants to win Swedish Championship gold, just like me.”
— Champions Hockey League (@championshockey) August 26, 2021
Rögle is also a club with a reputation for offering the chance for young players to shine. It was there that defenseman Moritz Seider fine tuned his game in 2020-21, awaiting to embark upon a sensational rookie NHL campaign with the Red Wings.
Niederbach is known for his vision on the ice and abilty to make quick reads with the puck. He’s of the opinion that further layers were added to his repertoire during his first full SHL season with Frolunda.
“I have developed my smartness on the ice and (am) not playing as much as a junior,” Niederbach said. “I feel that I have become more mature in the game. That’s the biggest part I’ve developed.
“Then I feel that I have become much more stable in the game in my own zone.”
Another bonus with Niederbach is that he’s equally at home on the wing or playing down the middle.
“I’ve played a lot of center, but last season I played on the wing so I can play both positions,” Niederbach said.
Estimated Time of Arrival in Detroit
Just 20, Niederbach is playing at least one more year in Sweden and he’s fine with that.
“I feel like one more year in Sweden fits well,” Niederbach, 20, explained in the announcement of his move on Rögle’s official website. “Rögle feels like the right place to help me take the next step.”
He’ll get the chance to play big minutes for Rögle and that can only serve to further his development as a pro.
“We try to make sure that they have the opportunity,” Rogle sports director Chris Abbott said. “Then it’s up to them what they do with it, but we really like to have a group and players who are moving forward in their careers.
“We believe we can create success that way. Theodor has every chance of becoming a player who can make a difference in the SHL before he tries to break into the NHL.”
The earliest that Red Wings fans can expect to see Niederbach playing pro in North America will be the 2003-24 season. He’ll probably need at least one season of AHL experience with the Grand Rapids Griffins before Detroit will become a serious possibility.