Detroit Red Wings: Don’t Sleep on prospect Jonatan Berggren

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
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 /
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The Detroit Red Wings selected Jonatan Berggren with the 33rd pick in the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Level Draft.  He may be undersized, but he’s got the heart of a lion.

When the Detroit Red Wings arrived at the podium with the 30th pick in the NHL draft, I started to scan through all of the defensive draft prospects.  I was expecting the organization to select Mattias Samuelsson. Instead, they announced Joeseph Veleno.

At the time I was thrilled with the selection because he seemed like a bargain at 30, yet I wondered why he fell.  He was expected to be selected around 15, like Zadina, Ken Holland couldn’t resist taking him.

Although I was expecting a defender, the Detroit Red Wings had another pick three picks later so surely it would be addressed at that time–nope.  The Wings decided they couldn’t pass on another talented forward and selected winger Jonatan Berggren.

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Berggren is a human highlight reel.  He has outstanding puck skills, a defensive zone awareness for a player of his age.  He’s only 18-years-old and has a will like very few his age.  He’s a master of the “takeaway” and he never just stops there.  He turns up the ice after he creates a takeaway and immediately turns a tremendous defensive play into some offense.

At 5’10 he’s a bit undersized, but that shouldn’t make any difference in today’s’ NHL.  The league is getting away from the big power forwards and much more geared to gifted playmaking skaters no matter how big or small they are.

This is about the best compliment you can give an unproven kid, but he has the same style as Patrick Kane.  Of course, he’s nowhere near that talent level at this point in his career, and he may never make it to that platform.  Kane is a league MVP candidate, but he’s 5’11 under 180 pounds.

As you can see in the video above Berggren makes skating look as if he’s gliding around effortlessly and can stick-handle at top speed without any issue at all.  His skating ability along with his puck control gives me a Kane type hope if it can translate over to the NHL level one day.

In an article written by Brandon Share-Cohen for the Hockey Writers, a draft analysis just before last years draft shares some thoughts on Berggren.

"“a two-way winger with a nonstop motor, Berggren’s speed and anticipation causes havoc for opposing defenders, but it’s the plays he makes after forcing turnovers that separate him from most players his age. His active stick and quick hands turn harmless dump-ins into quality chances, and his speed allows him to blow past defenders at the blue line.” – Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst"

The hockey writers also have his offensive ability ranked 8.5/10 and his defensive contributions set at 7.5/10.  He should be on the Detroit Red Wings radar next summer as an excellent candidate to make the club out of training camp.

As Tyler Kotila described recently in an article analyzing the Detroit Red Wings 2018 top-five picks; In the 5 games with Team Sweden, he managed only 3 assists and was even in terms of plus/minus. This season he has played only sixteen games in the Swedish Hockey League where he has also only put up three assists.

Next. How Are the Wings Top Five NHL Draft Picks Performing?. dark

It would be something if Berggren joined Filip Zadina, and potentially Joeseph Veleno in the Wings lineup to start the 2019-20 NHL season.  It’s probably wishful thinking but the youth movement is undoubtedly coming, plus the Wings should have a top-5 pick in this year’s draft who will have every opportunity to play right their way right into the NHL.  We talk a lot about Zadina & Veleno but don’t sleep on Berggren.