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Red Wings Prospect Sandin Pellikka Shows Solid D in Season Debut



Axel Sandin Pellikka

Detroit Red Wings defenseman prospect Axel Sandin Pellikka showed Friday that he doesn’t need to put points on the board to have an impressive showing for his Skelleftea team.

Sandin Pellikka led Skelleftea with six shots on goal and four blocked shots to help the Swedish team defeat Red Bull Salzburg 4-0 in their opening Champions League game. The No. 17 pick in the 2023 draft played 15:43 in Skelleftea’s third pairing.

Thanks in part to Sandin Pellikka’s defensive work,  goalie David Rautio only needed to post 13 saves for the shutout.

Sandin Pellikka is in his second season for Skelleftea’s senior team. Last season, he managed two goals and five points in 22 games. Some scouts believed Sandin Pellikka was the top puck-moving defenseman available in the 2023 draft.

Detroit fans saw Axel Sandin Pellikka look slick with the puck playing for Sweden in the World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena this summer. He can dart through traffic and move end to end with impressive quickness.

Worked on His D

He worked on his defensive play for most of the summer, while trying to add some bulk. The Red Wings are not looking to expedite his development.

“That’s something I’ve been working on the whole summer, getting stronger and just picking on the players in time and boxing them out,” Sandin Pellikka said. ” I felt I’ve gotten better at that and it’s something I’m going to work on and get better at that.”

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Sandin Pellikka turned 18 in March, and he may need this season and 2024-25 in the Swedish Hockey League before coming to North America. But his play will dictate his timetable.

“He’s certainly got the brains,” Detroit director of player development Dan Cleary said. “He’s got a nice set of hands, good patience, just work on certain areas of the game. Defending is going to be important for him, work on his shot. Lots of time for that.”