When asked last spring whether on how he would ready himself should the Detroit Red Wings come calling, Jonatan Berggren had a simple answer.
“I just want to do my thing, and hopefully, that will make me an NHL player someday.”
He did his thing to the tune of 64 points (21-33) in 71 games last season with Grand Rapids. After being sent back for seven games this season, Berggren was a point-per-game with four goals.
The player fans have affectionately called “Burger” was ordered up by the Red Wings barely a month ago.
And he’s absolutely been ready for the call.
Berggren Off To Strong Start with Red Wings
Berggren has eight points in 12 games, with three goals finding the back of the net. He scored one of those three goals Tuesday night in Detroit’s 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay, a big-time win against a team that has owned the Red Wings for some time.
Berggren was in the middle of it, redirecting a puck to spot Detroit a two-goal lead against arguably the best goalie in the world in Andrei Vasilevskiy. He’s been on the power play, all the while playing bottom-six minutes and still making a contribution.
Regardless, it’s how he plays the game that continues to propel his success. Head coach Derek Lalonde has not only lauded his five-on-five play, but also his work ethic.
“It’s easier to develop somebody when they’re playing the right way,” Lalonde said.
Count it for Jonatan Berggren. 🚨 pic.twitter.com/kmJnaYIBRl
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 7, 2022
Berggren’s Play Foreshadows a Longer Stay in Detroit
The 22-year-old is knocking on the door of being in the top ten of points for the team, currently tied with Pius Suter, who has played twice as many games. Averaging 12:42 of ice time, the bulk of Berggren’s time has been with Joe Veleno while shifting when Lalonde finds a favorable spot for the young forward.
Berggren is averaging 3.1 points per 60 minutes while his xGF is 5.9.
So the only remaining question is what might Berggren do if he finds his way into the top six?
Similar to the inevitably of finding his way onto Detroit’s roster this season, it’ll only be a matter of time before Lalonde offers him top-six minutes.
If his previous performance is any indication, Berggren will be ready once again and it certainly seems like he’ll be in Detroit for the long haul.