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Red Wings Trust in Simon Edvinsson Grows Daily



Simon Edvinsson, Red Wings

When defenseman Simon Edvinsson was on the ice in the closing minutes of Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was like the Red Wings were announcing the Edvinsson Era had finally begun.

Edvinsson’s performance in the midst of a pressure-filled wildcard race shows he belongs in the NHL. Coaches have more trust in him, especially when it comes to protecting a lead.

“It’s a lot of pressure going into those games,” Edvinsson said. “Every point matters, every mistake counts. I try to play kind of safe as of now. Try to play with my of course instincts, but always in the mind of defense first. I feel like that’s the way it’s gonna have to be right now, so that’s how I’m going with it.”

In other words, he would show his offensive side more if every game didn’t carry the importance of a playoff contest. Edvinsson was on pace to be a 40-plus point defenseman in Grand Rapids this season. He can motor with the puck, racking up eight goals and 29 points in 41 games. But even at age 21, Edvinsson is savvy enough to know he needs to play it safe for now.

The Red Wings are 3-2-2 in the seven games Edvinsson has played for Detroit since being recalled because of Jake Walman’s injury. Walman is back, But Edvinsson remains in the lineup

“Of course it was tough games,” the 2021 first rounder said. “It was a tough road trip. To get four points from that is huge. I feel myself I’m just gonna keep going. Just play the way I’ve been playing – calm, poised. Also, the offense is gonna come. I feel comfortable out there, I feel confident. ”

Earning His Keep

Edvinsson was playing 18 to 19-plus minutes per game, but played more than 20 minutes in the 4-2 win against Tampa Bay. Some of that time came when the Red Wings were protecting a lead in the waning moments. He was plus-2 in that game.

“When you get the coaches putting you in those critical situations, it gives you confidence in your game.” Detroit defenseman Jeff Petry said. “It makes you feel good and have belief in yourself. I think he’s done a good job against some high-end skill and high-end opponents. I think he’s continuing to grow and getting better every game.”

The 6-foot-6 Swede boasts an even plus-minus since his call-up. In those same seven games, his partner Petry is minus-4.

Fans wanted to see Edvinsson called up earlier, but the Red Wings had seven veteran defensemen on their roster. More importantly, the Red Wings felt Edvinsson would benefit more by being the No. 1 defenseman for the Griffins.

Edvinsson Arriving On Time

His travel time to being an NHL regular is not out of line with his 2021 draft class. Nineteen of 32 first rounders have played at least one game in the NHL, but Edvinsson is one of nine currently playing regularly. He was drafted sixth overall.

“He’s been top four, you can see, he’s give us great minutes, he’s been a puck transporter,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “He’s had great defensive stops, the long stick has kept pucks alive. But even the other day he was starting to get really comfortable and he was the first man to forecheck a couple times, he got caught in some gray ice a couple times where they’re one play away from making a play. It’s just part of the growth of a thoroughbred. You want to let him grow a little but you got to reel him in.”

Lalonde obviously doesn’t believe Edvinsson is playing as safely as he thinks he is playing. Lalonde said assistant coach Bob Boughner made sure Edvinsson didn’t start spreading his wings too far.

“The whole game, I’m like, ‘Bougs, reel Simon in.’ And he’s like ‘I’m on it, I’m on it,.’ Lalonde said. “He was probably right until that game was over, he was on his toes. I think that’s all just part of the growth and learning and I think that’s why you want to put these guys in those situations, really. Really big situations. Playing last year at this time is a lot different than playing this year at this time, where every play and every puck matters.”