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Berggren making a name for himself with Red Wings

Berggren with Red Wings to stay



Jonatan Berggren, Red Wings
Only four NHL rookies have more points than him since the Red Wings were recalling Jonatan Berggren in mid-November.

Beyond his production and obvious high-end skillset, there’s another reason to feel certain that Jonatan Berggren is here to stay with the Detroit Red Wings.

His teammates are working on coming up with a nickname for the rookie forward.

The current clubhouse leader? Johnny Burgers. Except with the Swedish pronunciation of Jonatan taken into account.

So, in other words, Yawney Burgers.

“I just came up with it,” Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin was boasting.

After chewing on it, Berggren likes how it sounds . . . and tastes.

“I like burgers, so I won’t complain,” Berggren said. “You can call me anything you want.”

Among the things you can call Berggren is an NHLer. They may still be searching out a handle for him, but it’s evident that Berggren, 22, can handle the NHL.

Berggren Among NHL’s Top Rookie Scorers

Since getting his recall from AHL Grand Rapids and making his NHL debut on November 10, Berggren’s account is showing 10 goals and 10 assists in 38 games. Over that span, just four NHL first-year players were collecting more points than him – Seattle’s Matty Beniers (30), Anaheim’s Mason McTavish (24), Winnipeg’s Cole Perfetti (21) and Nashville’s Juuso Parssinen (21).

“He makes plays,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said of the 5-foot-11, 197-pound Berggren. “He’s making plays in tight areas, he makes plays on the rush.

“He helps our offense with his ability to make plays to gain some space.”

Only Kirill Marchenko (14) of Columbus and Beniers (12) have tallied more goals among rookies since Berggren was making his NHL bow.

“You watch a lot of the goals he’s scored this year, it’s finding soft spots on the ice where he’s not covered and he’s got good hands around the net,” Larkin said. “It’s good hockey sense.”

Berggren was collecting a point in three of his first four and five of his initial seven NHL contests.

“I’m feeling pretty good that I haven’t had so much downs in my games,” Berggren said. “Everything is coming to the rink every day and try to be a little better than yesterday and just keep working hard.”

Furthering 200-Foot Game Berggren’s Next Challenge

Laonde appreciates the package of talents that Berggren brings to his squad when the puck is on his stick.

“He’s skilled, he can complement guys,” Lalonde said. “He helps our power play. He can score on the power play. And he can play up and down our lineup.

“He’s helped drive some offense with whatever line he’s been on.”

As is the case with almost all young players and NHL newcomers in general, honing the complete package of skills is a challenging process.

“Like the rest of our guys, we just want him to keep growing away from the puck in some other areas, which he has been,” Lalonde said. “Now, work on some consistency with it.”

Berggren doesn’t dispute this notion, nor the fact that he’s continuing to focus his energy and attention toward being a better defensive performer.

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“Everything is coming to the rink every day and try to be a little better than yesterday and just keep working hard,” Berggren said. “The more games I play, the more confident I get.”

While Berggren works on that aspect, Larkin and his teammates continue to try to get a handle on a handle for their newest teammate.

“We’ll see,” Larkin suggested of his latest effort at a Berggren nickname. “For now, it’s just Berggy.”

Berggren’s nickname, much like his game, are continuing to evolve.

“Work in progress,” Berggren said.