Detroit Red Wings fans are beginning to feel hopeful. While this assessment may be a bit premature, the organization is gathering a group of notable prospects. Already in the NHL, Moritz Seider is closer to a Norris Trophy contender than some might think, and Lucas Raymond has proven he’s a top-line talent. It’s been a comfortable recovery for a team that has seen disappointing results from first-round picks. Two current top 10 picks for Detroit, Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen, are still at the club but have yet to live up to expectations. With the rebuild still in full swing, a wave of NHL-ready prospects is looming, and you can expect Steve Yzerman to be aggressive in the trade market next season, followed by a likely jump to free-hand in the Year after, to accelerate Detroit’s rise, they’re back in the league’s elite.
Simon Edvinsson, D – A towering blueliner ranked the 7th best vantage point in the league The Ice Hockey News in their annual Future Watch and , Edvinsson, who stands 6’5″, is expected to start playing consistent minutes in the NHL straight away. Alongside Moritz Seider, Edvinsson could form the second half of a dynamic duo that will terrify opponents with their size and defensive acumen, as well as their willingness to intervene offensively and far-sightedness from behind.
Jonathan Berggren, F – As the 33rd overall pick of 2018, Berggren announced himself to the world last year, scoring 45 points in 49 games in the SHL. He then led the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins with 64 points in 70 games. Detroit resisted the temptation to bring Berggren on the team early and kept him in the American Hockey League for the duration of the season. Next year Detroit will get an older, stronger, overripe prospect ready to contribute immediately.
Sebastian Cossa, G – Every team hopes for a goalkeeper of the future and Sebastian Cossa fits the job description in every way. His numbers in the WHL were staggering at times. There was a mid-season break for Cossa this year, but it almost seemed like the games were too easy for him. As the playoffs rolled around, he returned to coming up with video game-style numbers, almost too good to be true. Cossa has the physique of a modern day goaltender at 6’6″ and his date of birth qualifies him for the AHL next season as he turns 20 in November. If Detroit brings him to the AHL, his time until he takes over the NHL to be closer than some expect.
one to watch
If Detroit’s future blueline with Seider and Edvinsson wasn’t big and talented enough, let us introduce you Wilhelm Wallinder. Wallinder was the 32nd overall pick in 2020, meaning he would be a first-round pick today. The 6’4″ Blueliner is a sleek skater and in the SHL the same accolade that Moritz Seider received last year. He has yet to fill it out, but Wallinder isn’t just climbing the prospect ladder, he’s racing to the top. Another name to keep an eye on, and one that’s hard to miss given its size, is Swede Elmer Soderblom. While Wallinder made headlines, perhaps no player will captivate Red Wings fans next season like Pontus Andreasson. Watching the Swedish free agent transition to the AHL will be of interest.
Ready to get in
While at least two players will make up the Detroit Red Wings roster next season, it’s Jonatan Berggren who looks the most ready. He played his first 10 games of professional hockey in 2017-2018 and, after a number of injuries and inconsistencies, has now had two full professional campaigns, one in Europe and one in North America. He will be 22 at the start of the season and will be nominated for a top 9 role that will likely also include power play opportunities. It wouldn’t be surprising if Berggren joined Detroit’s top six and stayed next year.
Top Needs in the NHL Draft
With Detroit’s Blueline and Creep increasingly stocked for the future, Detroit lacks high-end skills in its Forward Corps. Raymond is here and Berggren is ready. Had Filip Zadina been the player many were predicting, Detroit’s future prospects might be different. The same goes for Michael Rasmussen, who showed considerable growth in the second half of the season but is still not producing at a pace that would justify him as ninth overall. Similarly, Joe Veleno has shown flashes of talent but may not develop into a top six player. With that in mind, Detroit should hit skilled forwards early and often. This draft has good forward depth, even in the second round, so Detroit could make a dent with its top two picks to address this issue.