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 right wing Jonatan Berggren
Position: Right Wing
How Acquired: Selected 33rd overall in the 2018 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-P) 70-21-43-64 (with Grand Rapids)
Contract Status: Signed through 2023-24 at $925,000 AAV ($70,000 in minors)
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
His first season in North American couldn’t have gone much better for Jonatan Berggren. Performing for Detroit’s top farm club the Grand Rapids Griffins, Berggren finished 12th in the American League scoring race with 21 goals and 43 assists for 64 points. That established a new Griffins’ record for points by a rookie. Berggren was the AHL’s second-highest rookie scorer, trailing only Buffalo Sabres JJ Peterka (28 goals, 68 points).
— Griffins Nest (@GrGriffinsNest) January 15, 2022
He ended the season with an 11-game point streak. Berggren registered points in 15 of his last 18 games. In those 15 games, Berggren boasted 10 multi-point games.
“We’re very pleased with the season that Jonatan had,” Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman said. “As an adjustment coming to play in the American Hockey Legue versus the Swedish Elite League that he played in, there’s areas of his game that we asked him to focus on and try to improve on and he did that.
“We’re very happy with his progress.”
Estimated Time of Arrival in Detroit
A lot of Red Wings fans and probably just as many Red Wings players were delighted with the free agent moves the club made on July 13. Berggren, on the other hand, perhaps wasn’t fist pumping as emphatically over the new additions.
Jonatan Berggren with the dangles!
— Tom Mitsos (@tom_mitsos) October 16, 2021
Suddenly, there’s quite the road block in his path to a spot in Detroit. On the right wing, the Red Wings depth chart now list at least Tyler Bertuzzi, David Perron, Filip Zadina, Oskar Sundqvist and Givani Smith before getting to Berggren’s name.
Does he have a chance to make the team next year?” Yzerman asked rhetorically of Berggren. “He does have a chance. Is he a lock to make it? I don’t think so.”
Yzerman often notes that he won’t be handing a spot on the team to a prospect. They’ll be required to push a veteran aside in order to gain their wings. Certainly, it would appear that Berggren will need to really deliver the good during the 2022-23 preseason to find a home in Detroit. To his credit, Yzerman isn’t ruling out that possbility.
“I’m not gonna pencil Jonatan Berggren into the lineup but I’m also not going to say that he’s destined to play in GR,” Yzerman explained. “Let’s see how training camp goes. Let’s see how the preseason goes and we’ll make a determination at that point.”