Red Wings Prospects Focus: Four Europeans to Play in WJC

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 26: Theodor Niederbach #16 of Sweden skates against the Czech Republic during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 26, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 26: Theodor Niederbach #16 of Sweden skates against the Czech Republic during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 26, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Detroit Red Wings could  have a plethora or prospects playing in the World Junior Championships being held in Edmonton/Red Deer, AB in two weeks.

Four Europeans have already been named to their respective teams.  Simon Edvinsson and Theodor Niederbach were named to Team SwedenEemil Viro was named to Team Finland.  Jan Bednar, who is playing junior hockey in the QMJHL in Canada, will return in the net for Czech Republic.

Next week, I will take at deep look into each player representing their home country at the WJC-20 tournament.  I will also examine Detroit’s encouraging goaltender prospect pool.

Here is a look at the European forward and defense prospects, NOT playing in the WJC, heading into the Christmas break.

Liam Dower Nilsson was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the 5th round, 134th overall in the 2021 draft.  He is a tremendous talent who has one more year of junior eligibility.  Unfortunately, Dower Nilsson is one of the European juniors who was not selected to play in the WJC-20 at Christmas.  In the last three weeks, Dower Nilsson has only played in two games and picked up one assist.  Pplaying in the Frolunda organization, Dower Nilsson has scored seven goals and 19 points in 17 games in the J20 Nationell and is pointless in limited playing time playing in seven games in the SHL.  He will be given strong consideration to play in the 2023 WJC-20 next year, when the tournament returns to Russia.

Elmer Soderblom looks like he is ready to bring his game to North America next year.  Soderblom was selected in the 6th round, 159th overall in the 2019 draft.  Soderblom is 6’8″ and a late bloomer who continues to excel in the SHL.  In the last three weeks, Soderblom played seven games and collected one goal and two assists.  For the season, Soderblom has scored 10 goals and 14 points in 28 games.  Soderblom remains unsigned by Detroit but, will likely sign his entry-level contract with the Red Wings in the near future.

Otto Kivenmaki was selected in the 7th round, 191st overall in the 2018 draft.  In 29 games playing for Pelicans (Liiga), Kivenmaki is now closing in on last seasons totals as he has scored five goals and 15 points.  Last year, Kivenmaki scored six goals and 18 points in 29 games playing for Assat (Liiga).  An offensive improvement was expected from Kivenmaki if he ever wanted to sign an entry-level contract with Detroit.  In order to remain property of the Red Wings, the diminutive forward needs to sign a contract with Detroit by the June 2022 deadline.

William Wallinder was selected in the 2nd round, 32nd overall in the 2020 draft.   Wallinder couldn’t have done anything more to show that he belongs in the WJC-20 tournament.  In his final year of eligibility, Wallinder was not selected to play for Sweden at Christmas.  During the last three weeks, Wallinder played five games and collected one goal and a +1 rating.  Playing at both the J20 and SHL levels, Wallinder has scored five goals and 14 points in 30 games with a +14 rating.  Wallinder remains unsigned by Detroit but, will likely sign his entry-level contract with the Red Wings in the near future.

Albert Johansson was selected in the 2nd round, 60th overall in the 2019 draft. During the last three weeks, Johansson has played seven games and collected one goal and two points.  Now in his second full season playing for Farjestad (SHL), Johansson has scored three goals and 13 points and a -3 rating in 27 games.  Johansson signed his entry-level contract with Detroit and is currently on loan by the Red Wings.  Next year, Johansson will make a push to play for Detroit full-time.

Albin Grewe was selected in the 3rd round, 66th overall in the 2019 draft.  Grewe signed a professional-tryout and played 11 games with Grand Rapids (AHL) last year.  Grewe remains unsigned with Detroit and just returned from injury.  He started the season playing four games for Ilves (Liiga).  Wanting a fresh start, Grewe transferred to play for Mora (HockeyAllsvenskan).  Grewe has now played 10 games for Mora, picking up one goal and four points with a -3 rating.  Grewe has one more season before he needs to be signed by Detroit.  The Red Wings hold Grewe’s rights until June 2023.

Gustav Berglund was selected in the 6th round, 177th overall in the 2019 draft.  Berglund remains unsigned with Detroit.  He started the season playing for Mora (HockeyAllsvenskan).  In 10 games, Berglund scored two goals and three points with a -5 rating.  He is currently on loan to Farjestad (SHL).  In four games, Berglund is pointless with a +1 rating.  Berglund has one more season before he needs to be signed by Detroit.  The Red Wings hold Berglund’s rights until June 2023.

Must Read. Robby Fabbri Re-Signs for Three Years. light