Examining if Jonatan Berggren can be top six for the Detroit Red Wings

Ranked the #2 prospect in the Detroit Red Wings system, Jonatan Berggren is a player Red Wings fans are excited about. For good reason Berggren finished his season in Grand Rapids among the best rookies in Griffins history. Berggren finished with 21 goals, 43 assists and 64 points. So does that add up to a top six spot with the Red Wings in the future?

*For those who may not know or need a refresher, top six is a player on the top two lines.*

DALLAS, TX – JUNE 23: Jonatan Berggren poses after being selected 33rd overall by the Detroit Red Wings during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Jonatan Berggren, was drafted in 2018 in the second round. The Swedish forward (he plays left and right wing) was viewed as a playmaker. Berggren’s excellent vision lends itself to him being an outstanding passer, he is solid on the forecheck and boasts elite speed.

The Detroit Red Wings needed more from the young forward. This year Jonatan Berggren added scoring to his game. He is deserving of the #2 ranking in the Detroit pipeline.

Berggren did not get a call-up to Detroit, which at first glance looked odd. Yet, in my opinion I believe was the correct call. Even though Berggren’s play and numbers suggested a call-up was warranted, development trumped the call-up.

CLEVELAND, OH – DECEMBER 06: Grand Rapids Griffins left wing Jonatan Berggren (48) plays the puck during the first period of the American Hockey League game between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Cleveland Monsters on December 6, 2021, at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With his elite speed, vision, defense and now scoring touch Jonatan Berggren has played his way into the top six conversation. Which is good news because the Red Wings are short on forward prospects in the the system.

I believe  a couple of things are in store for the next NHL/ AHL season,

  1. I believe Berggren will get a good long look in training camp, and will be given an opportunity to compete for a job as he should because he earned that last season.
  2. I believe Berggren will start the season in Grand Rapids with the Griffins. Why? While the Red Wings need more scoring, development is vital to a long NHL career. So by starting Berggren in Grand Rapids it will allow him to pick up where he left off. If he is consistent at the start of the season and it matches last season, he will get a call-up and just might not be sent back down.

Jonatan Berggren, gives the Detroit Red Wings a player with a lot of hope given his upside.


Detroit Red Wings Filip Zadina is settling in at the NHL level

Due to COVID-19 the NHL 2020-21 season is only 56 games. In games played thus far Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina has shown growth in his overall game. While his production is up and Zadina is now living closer to his pre draft status, the Red Wings believe even better days are ahead for the young  Czech Republic product.

This is the first season that the Detroit Red Wings have given Filip Zadina a chance to stick full-time with the team. Zadina has taken the opportunity to take full advantage of the Red Wings trust.

MONTREAL, QC – MARCH 12: Detroit Red Wings right wing Filip Zadina (11) skates while looking towards his right during the Detroit Red Wings versus the Montreal Canadiens game on March 12, 2019, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

While Zadina is still rounding his game into a top-six forward, he has given the Red Wings a good look at just what they have in a player who fell them three years ago. While Zadina’s goals are not eye-popping his total game is rounding out.

In 26 games played, the Red Wings have seen Filip Zadina score three goals with nine assists for 12 total points. nearly a half a point per-game. Zadina was touted as a goal scorer pre-draft. While the Red Wings believe goals will come his overall game has grown.

Filip Zadina has gotten much better in the defensive end of the ice. His forechecking has improved and the young forward is not as hesitant to jump into the mix on the boards as he was last season. Zadina has also improved on his passing.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 31: Antti Suomela #40 of the San Jose Sharks battles for position on the face off with Filip Zadina #11 of the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on December 31, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. The Wings defeated the Sharks 2-0. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Again, While the goals stand at just three on the season, Zadina has shown growth in other areas and has not been a liability when out on the ice. For a pure goal scorer such as Zadina the goals will come.

As for any young player in his first full season in the NHL, there is a lot to take in and responsibility to learn. Filip Zadina did not forget how to score goals. It is more likely that has been put on the back shelf while he learns other aspects of the NHL game.

Filip Zadina has shown the Detroit Red Wings enough for the organization to be excited about.

Detroit Red Wings prospect Jonatan Berggren is stepping up his game

For any rebuild to be deemed a success a lot of draft picks are needed but more important, players selected in the drafts must pan out. It is a given not every player drafted will make it to the NHL. The Detroit Red Wings, Jonatan Berggren is a player that being drafted buy the organization in 2018 is a case of a prospect taking the next step which should prove good for the Red Wings.

At just 5 feet 11 inches there is a lot of hockey in Jonatan Berggren small frame. Who’s scouting report indicated a solid player was in there and just needed time to come out. Coupled with a few injuries it took perhaps a tad bit longer to show why the Red Wings drafted him, yet Berggren is now showing it on a more consistent basis.

PLYMOUTH, MI – FEBRUARY 15: Jonatan Berggren #17 of the Sweden Nationals skates up ice with the puck against the Finland Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 15, 2018 in Plymouth, Michigan. Finland defeated Sweden 5-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** Jonatan Berggren

Currently playing in the Swedish Hockey League, Jonatan Berggren is playing at a better than a point a game clip. In 17 games played Berggren has four goals and 15 assists. 

When the Detroit Red Wings drafted Jonatan Berggren it was for his well known ability to be a a play-maker. The smallish forward’s game is well rounded. His combo of speed and skill makes him dangerous in the offensive zone while Berggren’s defense is solid as well.

Given the growth Berggren’s game has seen, it is very possible the Red Wings will bring him back to Detroit in time for training camp whenever the NHL figures out the logistics of how the 2020-21 season will be played.

“Playing in the NHL is something I’ve been thinking about, and dreaming of since I started playing,” Jonatan Berggren said recently. “And now I’m closer to realizing that dream than ever. It’s all about that final push. And if I think about all the work I’ve put in to be able to try to make that push. It has all been worth it.”

The work Jonatan Berggren has put in is about to pay off for him and the Detroit Red Wings will be the beneficiaries of the young forwards improved play.

Detroit Red Wings Filip Zadina heating up in the Czech Republic league

When the Detroit Red Wings then general manager Ken Holland drafted Filip Zadina two years ago it was widely known Zadina was a pure goal scorer. Detroit lent Zadina to the Czech Republic hockey team during the AHL/NHL shutdown due to COVID-19. In just three games played, Filip Zadina is heating up.

Four-goals, one assist in three games played. Filip Zadina is showing why he is one of the Detroit Red Wings top prospects and why he is an important part of the organizations future post-rebuild.

At just 21 years old Zadina, was playing well for the Red Wings during the shortened NHL season. After having a rough training camp in which Zadina was assigned to the minor leagues, the young forward found his footing and his scoring touch leading to a November call-up.

Filip Zadina has the offensive firepower the Detroit Red Wings need. His play last season saw Zadina move into a true top-six forward pairing player. One other aspect of his game that has grown by leaps and bounds is Zadina has become much more patient with the puck.  The talented prospect no longer forces the puck into the mix, he clearly is seeing the ice better and it is safe to say the game has slowed down for him.

DETROIT, MI – FEBRUARY 24: Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina, of the Czech Republic, (11) skates during a regular season NHL hockey game between the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings on February 24, 2019. at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Now a very good puck mover as well as a sniper shot, Filip Zadina has shown he has upped his game and will need to continue to up his game as NHL defenses will surely play the young forward more aggressively next season.

The word on Filip Zadina pre-draft was his projection as a top-line, play-driving winger. Which is why he sits at or near the top of the Red Wings prospect list due directly to his potential.

Heading into training camp for a rumored January start up date for the 2021 NHL season, Filip Zadina will have many eyes on his as the Red Wings front office, coaching staff and teammates will expect to see his take the next step.

Given Filip Zadina’s track record, he will indeed take those steps.

The Detroit Red Wings select Lucas Raymond in the first round

How’s your mock draft? Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman does not care, neither does Director of Amateur Scouting Kris Draper. For the second year in a row Yzerman and Draper picked the player they feel can “move the needle.” Of all the names linked and mocked to the Red Wings with the No. 4 overall pick, not one person had them taking Swedish forward Lucas Raymond.

The rebuilding Detroit Red Wings have needs up and down the roster. Sure Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Hroneck and a couple others give the Red Wings good players to build around. The key word is build. Detroit GM Steve Yzerman said it will take time.

Steve Yzerman is not afraid to throw curveballs at experts. Many had the Red Wings taking other players. Until Yzerman made the pick and surprised many. One thing, the Detroit Red Wings got a player who is elite and will add offense to a team in need of it from the second line to the fourth line.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – JUNE 22: (L-R) Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper of the Detroit Red Wings attends the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Lucas Raymond, my goodness what a player the 5′ 11″ Swedish forward is. What exactly are the Red Wings getting in Raymond? Let’s take a look. For starters Raymond is an excellent skater. Raymond has outstanding speed and fantastic acceleration.

As for Raymond’s offensive game he uses his speed very well and has very good stickhandling skills. The young forward is rarely rattled and plays with  poise beyond his years.

Lucas reads the play extremely well, He is also above average at anticipating when a teammate will be open for a scoring chance. Raymond has a good solid wrist shot and a quick release. His quick hands allow him to change the angle on his shot and fool goaltenders.

Defensively Lucas Raymond plays all three zones. His size and lack of upper body strength can at times expose some weakness. Something the Red Wings will ask him to clean up when he plays this coming season in Sweden.

This was a very good pick by Yzerman and his scouting department. Raymond is very happy to join the organization who has had it’s fair share of great Swedish hockey players over the years.

The Detroit Red Wings need to make the call on Justin Abdelkader

Embed from Getty Images In 2014-15 Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader scored 23 goals and had 44 points. His abrasive, physical play earned him the respect of his teammates and admiration of the Detroit Red Wings coach’s and front office. It rubbed opposing teams the wrong way. Those were the good old days.

In the 2015-16 season, Justin Abdelkader once again posted solid numbers recording 19 goals and notching 42 points for the  Red Wings. These were the best offensive seasons of his career it also came with Pavel Datsyuk playing the majority of the time as his center.

The only issue (which at the time was not a big issue) was Justin had signed a seven year, $29.75 million dollar contract extension. Now it has become an albatross  of a  problem. This past season Abdelkader had gone 23 games without a goal and 12 games without a point.

Justin Abdelkader is a good penalty killer and grinding winger with one small problem. The Red Wings are paying out a lot of money for a guy who does not have the offensive ability he showed early in his career. Given his age, contract and declining numbers Justin Abdelkader is basically impossible to trade.

That leads us to waivers. Steve Yzerman and his  Detroit Red Wings are serious about rebuilding the team this is a fact. Then a clear message  needs to be sent  and place Justin Abdelkader on waivers if he starts next season the same way he played this past year.

Every NHL team and all hockey teams need an Abdelkader type player on the fourth line. But absolutely not at $4.25 million per season,  for a player who scores 6 goals and has multiple extended scoreless slumps during the season.

Detroit Red Wings, general manager Steve Yzerman was right to not buy Abdelkader’s contract out. That would have tightened the Wings salary cap. Waivers would send a strong message. Justin Abdelkader would clear waivers and be sent to Grand Rapids with only a $1.19 million cap hit. Opening a roster spot for one of Detroit’s top prospects like Filip Zadina.

Tyler Bertuzzi has taken Abdelkader’s spot as a tough, hard hitting, abrasive forward who is very capable of putting up solid offensive numbers.

It is time to move on from Justin Abdelkader.

Detroit Red Wings: The importance of Tyler Bertuzzi

Embed from Getty Images As the Detroit Red Wings continue to sort out players who will be on the roster when the rebuild reaches it’s end, one player that is sure to be there is Tyler Bertuzzi. Last season Bertuzzi (or Bert as he is known to teammates, coach’s and fans) became the first Detroit Red Wing player ever to record four consecutive three-point games.

Tyler Bertuzzi isn’t flashy. He is not the fastest, or strongest, or quickest or flashiest player on the ice. That is perfectly fine with the Detroit Red Wings organization. What Bertuzzi is, is a hockey player, who does the hard work and gets results.

2018-19 stats: 73 games, 21 goals, 26 assists, 47 points, plus-11 rating, 36 penalty minutes, put Bertuzzi on the map. It gets better for the young forward, named NHL’s second star of week on April 1 after tallying 10 points three goals, seven assists in four games. Career highs in goals, assists and points. … First career hat trick Jan. 12 at Minnesota in 100th career game.  Six power-play points three goals, three assists.  Tied for team lead with four game-winning goals. Tyler Bertuzzi led the  team in plus-minus rating plus-11 at home, even on road. Bertuzzi also led the team in shooting percentage 16.0%. Showing some defensive skill Tyler was third on team in takeaways 34.  winning 33%  of faceoffs 10-of-30. Showing he is not afraid to get under opposing teams skin, Bertuzzi was suspended two games Dec. 4-6 for punching Colorado’s Matt Calvert from bench. Tyler missed seven games Feb. 1-14 due to a concussion.

Those are working mans numbers. Make no mistake it was Bertuzzi’s ability to play the same type of hard working game every night that made Bertuzzi’s season so successful. Tyler Bertuzzi’s first full NHL season was a huge success. Bertuzzi, showed he can be an offensive threat in addition to providing grit, physicality and abrasiveness. He has a knack for being around the puck and he goes to the hard areas with reckless abandon , in the corners and in front of the net, making him an ideal complement on the top line with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.

Tyler Bertuzzi has flashed his worth and is they type of player the Detroit Red Wings need going forward.