After missing the past three Grand Rapids Griffins games with illness, defenseman Simon Edvinsson is feeling better and practicing with the team.
The Griffins play a Wednesday morning (11 a.m.) home game against the Rockford IceHogs. However, the Griffins haven’t said officially that Edvinsson will play.
Despite missing the past three games, the Swedish defenseman leads all Griffins D men in points with eight in nine games. His total is the highest point total by a AHL rookie defenseman. Edvinsson posted four points in his last four games before becoming ill.
The Red Wings sent him to the AHL to give him time to adjust to the differences in the Swedish and North American games. Under new coach Derek Lalonde, the Red Wings are trying to play with a more defensive mindset. They are looking for defenders to make the simpler play, to make smart decisions when rushing the puck. The Red Wings seem pleased with Edvinsson’s progress.
Edvinsson Still Learning
GM Steve Yzerman has been clear that he wants Edvinsson to log plenty of minutes in his first North American pro season, and the Griffins can give him that opportunity. There doesn’t appear to be any timetable for when Edvinsson will receive his first crack at the NHL. The assumption is that it will come when Yzerman believes he is ready for the NHL. Yzerman has said he doesn’t like to see top prospects to be called up until they are dominating at the AHL level.
The 6-foot-6 Edvinsson is considered a two-way defenseman with a knack for making an impact. But he’s only 19.
When Jake Walman comes off the injured list, the Red Wings will have eight defensemen in Detroit. Plus, veteran Mark Pysyk will be recovered from offseason surgery in early January. He would give them nine defensemen.
Even if the Red Wings are overrun by injuries on defense, Yzerman probably wouldn’t recall Edvinsson unless he believes he is ready. The Red Wings won’t rush Edvinsson. The Red Wings have a veteran Steven Kampfer also on the Grand Rapids roster. Kampfer, 34, has played 231 NHL games.