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 defenseman Gustav Berglund
How Acquired: Selected 177th overall, 2019 NHL entry draft
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-P) 21-2-2-4 (with four different teams)
Contract Status: Unsigned
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Karlskrona HK (HockeyEttan)
The best indication of the status of Gustav Berglund with the Detroit Red Wings is perhaps best indicated by the rosters at Detroit’s recent NHL development camp. Berglund was not listed among the players invited.
Berglund’s status in pro hockey overall is perhaps best indicated by where he’s currently playing. The Swedish defenseman is with Karlskrona HK of HockeyEttan. That’s Sweden’s third division.
Karlskrona was his fourth stop among four different leagues during the 2021-22 season for Berglund. He began his season with Mora IK of Hockey Allsvenskan, the Swedish second tier. This was Berglund’s most productive stint. He collected 1-2-3 numbers in 10 games.
In December, Berglund went on loan to Farjestad, the eventual SHL champions. Berglund also played one game for Farjestad’s J20 squad. However, a concussion in December would be ending his run in Sweden’s top league after a paltry seven games.
His prospects took yet another dip when Berglund was dropped to Karlskona. Here, he played four regular-season and three qualification games, gathering a solitary assist.
Estimated Time of Arrival in Detroit
There were high hopes for Berglund as a sleeper pick when the Wings claimed him late in the 2019 NHL entry draft from Frolunda. That’s the same organization responsible for producing Red Wings rookie sensation Lucas Raymond and top prospects Simon Edvinsson and Elmer Soderblom.
While acknowledging that there appears to be a well of potential in Berglund, Red Wings European scout Hakan Andersson gave a frank admission that Berglund has encountered off-ice issues in the past.
“He moved to Frolunda and had a tough time living on his own,” Andersson explained. “He didn’t eat properly, he was tired, didn’t train as hard. They had to straighten him out a little bit.”
At best, Berglund was projecting to be a third-pairing rearguard in the NHL. With so many defensive prospects now in the system, it’s looking as though many are passing by him on Detroit’s depth chart.
Detroit GM Steve Yzerman treasures players with high levels of hockey IQ and work ethic. It’s entirely possible that Yzerman isn’t all that interested in investing a lot of time and energy in a player who has shown evidence in the past that he’s not willing to invest in himself.
“Yzerman is pretty strict,” Andersson said. “He wants competitive players, too. There’s no dogs. Sometimes you draft a guy with high talent but they don’t compete.”
While the Red Wings maintan Berglund’s NHL rights, currently, all evidence is suggesting that it’s not appearing they are maintaining much interest in him being part of their future.