During his six seasons as an NHL defenseman, Robert Hagg was always an admirer of the Detroit Red Wings organization.
“I am very excited and have always liked playing here as an opponent,” Hagg told writer Gunnar Nordstrom of Swedish website SportExpressen. “The Red Wings are such a long-standing club in the league.”
Hagg signed a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Red Wings in late Juy. Even though main training camp for the Red Wings doesn’t open for two weeks, Hagg is already in Detroit, prepping for the upcoming campaign. His arrival in the city was last week. Hagg, 27, has settled into an apartment in suburban Royal Oak, Michigan.
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He’s spending his days training at Little Caesars Arena.
“I go in every morning and train in the gym and then on the ice,” Hagg explained. “I feel healthy and fresh and have had a good summer at home in Uppsala (Sweden). There is nothing to complain about.”
Hagg was married to his longtime partner Klara last month in Sweden. Many of his former teammates were in attendance. A couple of them will also be with him in Detroit this season.
“Mark Pysyk is also new this autumn and I had him as a defense partner in Buffalo during the last season,” Hagg told Nordstrom. “Now he’s injured (with an Achilles tear), so he won’t play until the end of the year from what I’ve heard.
“(Defenseman) Ben Chariot was one of my teammates in Florida at the end of last season, so I also know him from before.”
Ready to Mentor Young Swedish Red Wings
Hagg, who has played exactly 300 NHL games, is among 10 Swedes under contract to the Wings. Several of them are young NHLers such as forward Lucas Raymond and defenseman Gustav Lindstrom. Others are budding prospects, including forwards Elmer Soderblom, Pontus Andreasson and Jonatan Berggren and defenseman Simon Edvinsson and Albert Johansson.
Hagg is ready to do whatever he can to help them along their way.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m happy to share what I’ve learned during my years as a defenseman in the league.”
He looks at the young talent populating the Red Wings talent pool and is seeing nothing but potential, especially pointing to Raymond and Calder Trophy-winnng defenseman Moritz Seider.
“Yes, they are both fantastic talents,” Hagg said. “After all, Seider took the league by storm in his rookie season and won the Calder Trophy, and Lucas was also successful.
“The Red Wings have a young and exciting team, so I look forward to a fun season. We all have a lot to play for and I’m really looking forward to this challenge.”