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 goalie Victor Brattstrom
How Acquired: Selected 160th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: (GP-GAA-SV%) 32-3.32-.894 (with Grand Rapids Griffins)
Contract Status: One-Year Contract with Red Wings for $750,000 ($75,000 in Grand Rapids)
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Grand Rapids (AHL)
The best evidence of Victor Brattstrom’s potential is that he will be back in Grand Rapids for a second American Hockey League season.
The Swedish netminder gave up four or more goals in four of his first five AHL appearances, but pulled his game together to earn another Red Wings’ contract.
“I think (Brattstrom) learned over the course of the season,” Grand Rapids Griffins coach Ben Simon said. “In practice, in games in certain situations how to battle more, how to fight through traffic to make that extra effort for that second save, that tertiary save, to really compete on a daily basis.”
— Griffins Nest (@GrGriffinsNest) April 16, 2022
With the signing of Villi Husso and Jussi Olkinoura, the Red Wings’ goaltending outlook has changed since last season. Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic will be in Detroit. Nothing has been decided about top goalie prospect Sebastian Cossa. But it seems like he will end up back in the Western Hockey League.
That leaves Olkinoura and Brattstrom in Grand Rapids, while former Michigan State goalie John Lethemon possibly shuttles between the Griffins and the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye if there are injuries.
Estimated Time of Arrival in Detroit
Victor Brattstrom is 25. That makes it critical that he makes a move this season to secure his place in the Detroit organization. Olkinuora is on a one-season contract and presumably will move elsewhere if he doesn’t get a shot at the NHL.
It’s going to be two or three years before Cossa is NHL-ready. The Red Wings will need another consistent AHL goalie. Because of the constant threat of goalie injuries, minor league goalies are important to every NHL organization. Too often AHL goalies end up playing NHL games.
Calvin Pickard was a quality No. 3 goalie for Detroit last season. He boasts 116 games of NHL experience. Pickard is a pro’s pro. But he is also 30 years old and ended up signing this summer with Edmonton where perhaps he might have a better opportunity to play some NHL games.
That opens the door for Brattstrom just a bit. If the Red Wings didn’t think he has a chance, they would not have re-signed him. He’s 6-foot-4. Grand Rapids coach Ben Simon seems to like him. He turned in quality performances when the Griffins were in their losing battle to make the playoffs. He needs more consistency, more dependability.
“I thought he learned how to battle a lot harder physically and battle a lot harder mentally as the year went on,” Simon said.
This could be a make or break season for Brattstrom.