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Berggren Trying To Be The Player Red Wings Want Him to Be



Jonatan Berggren, Red Wings, Griffins

This story was updated to reflect an AHL official scoring change. Detroit Red Wings prospect Berggren was originally credited with three goals. However, an AHL review the next day showed one of his shots was tipped in by Marco Kasper. Simon Edvinsson also lost an assist on a goal and Elmer Soderblom gained an assist.


GRAND RAPIDS–The Griffins got the dominant scorer they needed and Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman saw a performance he wanted to see when Jonatan Berggren turned an AHL playoff game into his show.

Berggren produced two impressive goals and an assist in a span of 3:30 minutes to lift the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 4-2 come-from-behind win against the Milwaukee Admirals in Game 4 of their playoff series.  That sets up a Game 5 Sunday in Milwaukee (6 p.m.) to decide who advances to the next round of the AHL playoffs.

“He wants the big stage and he’s ready for it,” Griffins coach Dan Watson said. “He thrives in those situations. You can see how he engages more when stuff is on the line.”

Griffins Top Line

Linemates Berggren, Marco Kasper and Carter Mazur combined for 14 shots on goal. Berggren generated six of them.

Berggren’s goals were highlight-reel quality “He’s an unbelievable  player,” Mazur said. “He knows where to be in the right situations and knows how to put the puck in the net. He’s just a high level player who always knows to do the right things.”

Ready or not, Berggren will be a Red Wings player at the start of the 2024-25 season. He is no longer be waiver exempt, meaning he would have to be put through the waivers to be returned to the AHL. Yzerman says he believes Berggren would be claimed by another NHL team. Clearly, scouts are intrigued by his ability to find the net.

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These three goals give him six goals and 10 points in eight playoff games. Four of his goals have been game-winners. Berggren put up 24 goals and 57 points in 54 regular-season games for the Griffins. In 79 career games with the Red Wings, Berggren boasts 17 goals.

Berggren has proven he can score. But there is far more to hockey than scoring goals, and Berggren’s overall game has sometimes not been to coach Derek Lalonde’s liking. Berggren has taken some poor-decision penalties and not been as attentive to his defensive responsibilities as he needs to be.

Act of Redemption

“He showed up in that third period, after (taking) a tough penalty, a bad penalty in the second period, a selfish one (for roughing),” Watson said after Berggren put on his late show. “We talked about it. But he showed up in the third period and responded and helped our team win.”

Berggren was focused in that third period. He hardly celebrated his goals. “I was pretty dialed in. Pretty mad,” Berggren said. “It was a  tough game. I am more happy now that I know we have won the game.”

Both the Rockford IceHogs last series, and the Admirals in this series, have targeted Berggren because he is the Griffins’ top scorer, but Berggren has delivered in both series.

“It’s been a little tough in both series for body and mind,” Berggren said. “But that’s playoff hockey. This is my first time playoff hockey in North America, but I’m just happy we have won some games and are still in it.”

One thing is for sure: the Griffins count on Berggren raising his level in important games. Plus, Watson has said that Berggren has worked on the areas of his game that the Red Wings have asked him to improve. He’s a better all-around player than he was at the start of this season.