While the Detroit Red Wings were playing in Sweden last week as part of the NHL Global Series, they were arriving to Stockholm with more Swedes in the front office than on the ice.
Forward Lucas Raymond was the only Swedish player in the Detroit lineup.
However, to quote Reg Dunlop, erstwhile player/coach of the Charlestown Chiefs, that situation is about to change.
While in Sweden, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman was talking excitedly about the number of top Swedish prospects currently in the club’s development pipeline.
“We have some young guys who are close to playing in the NHL,” Yzerman told Swedish website Aftonbladet.se. “This year they get a bigger role in Grand Rapids (AHL) to develop a little and play more special teams and have a bigger role.
“They are very young and we expect them to be able to force their way into the team within a year or two.”
At the top of that list certainly is defenseman Simon Edvinsson. The sixth player chosen in the 2021 NHL entry draft is in his second AHL season with the Griffins. He’s fourth on the team in scoring with 3-4-7 totals through 13 games.
“Positive reports from him down there, where he’s starting to get a more complete game,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “There’s less of those egregious mistakes. He’s finding his game, he’s growing the correct way.”
Red Wings Pick Sandin Pellikka Lighting Up SHL
Still in Sweden playing for Skelleftea of the SHL, defenseman Axel Sandin Pellikka, the 17th overall pick of the 2023 draft, already shows seven goals as his tally this season.
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) November 19, 2023
“He’s a slightly different player than what we have in our organization,” Yzerman said. “He’s an offensive defenseman who’s good at moving the puck and we don’t really have that type of defenseman.
“It’s only a matter of time before he has a positive impact on the team”
Forwards Jonatan Berggren and Elmer Soderblom and defensemen Albert Johansson and William Wallinder are other Swedish prospects in Grand Rapids.
BERGY BERGY BERGY! 🍔
Jonatan Berggren has been named the 2022-23 Red Wings Rookie of the Year by @TheDSportsMedia!
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) May 23, 2023
“Overall, they are good young men who all have a chance to become NHL players,” the Detroit GM said.
Yzerman finds the potential of Johansson to be curiously intriguing. The steady defender is a team-leading plus-four.
“He has started very well this year,” Yzerman said of Johansson. “Now he is injured but he is close to coming back. Based on his play, we want him to play in the NHL at some point to see where he fits in next year.
“He can be a good NHL player, he just has to be healthy and play.”