The pipeline that carries hockey players from Sweden to the Detroit Red Wings will always flow through Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Ben Simon is thankful to have that talent, particularly Sunday, when Detroit’s Swedish prospects Elmer Söderblom and Simon Edvinsson combined for three goals and two assists to power the Griffins to a 5-3 win against the Chicago Wolves. Either Soderblom or Edvinsson was involved in all five Griffins’ goals.
Soderblom, in his seventh game with the Griffins scored his first two goals and added one assist. Edvinsson had a goal and an assist. Jakub Vrana, sent by the Red Wings to Grand Rapids, also had a goal and an assist.
— Griffins Nest (@GrGriffinsNest) January 29, 2023
The Red Wings appreciated Soderblom’s contributions in Detroit, but he fell victim to a numbers problem. They needed roster spaces when all of their veterans came off the injury list. If there are injuries in the second half, which is highly likely, Soderblom could end up back in Detroit.
It’s unknown whether GM Steve Yzerman will give Edvinsson time in Detroit. He didn’t give Jonatan Berggren any time in Detroit last season, preferring for him to spend an entire season in the American Hockey League. Yzerman has said he doesn’t like to yo-yo young players back and forth between the AHL and NHL. He prefers to let players prove themselves in the AHL, get promoted, and stay up.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now last weekend examined whether the Pittsburgh Penguins needed a new backup goaltender and listed Detroit Red Wings’ Alex Nedeljkovic among the possible replacements for Casey DeSmith.
Nedeljkovic didn’t play against the Wolves Sunday, but he has played impressively for the Griffins since being assigned there earlier this month. He owns a 2.55 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in nine appearances for the Griffins.
The Red Wings appreciate that Nedeljkovic makes the Griffins more competitive in the AHL.
It doesn’t seem likely the Penguins will replace DeSmith, who has this season and next left on his contract. But it’s not unthinkable that an NHL team might be interested in Nedeljkovic if they are hit by injuries in net.
How difficult is it for the Red Wings to score goals? According to NaturalStatTrick.com, they currently rank 31st out of 32 teams in the creation of high danger scoring chances. They average 7.77 per game. By contrast, they give up 9.91 high danger scoring chances per game. That ranks 17th. Detroit’s leading scorer Dylan Larkin (43 points in 47 games) ranks 66th…Vrana now has three goals and two assists in 12 games for Grand Rapids.