Detroit Red Wings: 4 forwards on the bubble heading into camp

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings, Jonatan Berggren
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Detroit Red Wings rookie Jonatan Berggren is on the bubble heading into training camp.

It seems odd to name a rookie that has yet to appear in an NHL game as a ‘bubble’ player and think of it in a positive context, but that’s precisely what we’ve got with forward Jonatan Berggren.

Berggren, similar to Veleno, will have every opportunity to make the Detroit Red Wings roster out of camp, but to do so, he will need to outperform someone who is currently slated to start the year in Detroit’s top nine.

It is safe to say that the days of sliding a young struggling scoring winger down to the fourth line to play minimal minutes with offensively hindered players are behind us. Former head coach Jeff Blashill was known for placing struggling young forwards such as Anthony Mantha and Filip Zadina on the fourth line alongside players like Luke Glendening.

While Glendening’s style of play serves a purpose, pairing him with Zadina or, in this case, Berggren with Rasmussen and Oskar Sundqvist just doesn’t function in a useful manner. Now, Rasmussen has offensive upside and put it on full display in the final month of the regular season. Rasmussen notched seven goals over the team’s last 16 games. There is an outside chance he beats out Suter for the third-line center job, but I feel he’s more likely to begin the year on the fourth line, and that’s not where Berggren should start.

Now, it won’t be impossible for Berggren, 22, to earn a spot with the Detroit Red Wings to begin the season, but it seems like a longshot at this point. We can always point to last season.

Yzerman and the Red Wings were all but set to send Lucas Raymond to Grand Rapids, but the rookie forward performed so well that the organization had no choice but to keep him in Detroit. Raymond beat out veteran forward Bobby Ryan for a final roster spot last season.

As it stands, the top three sets of wingers are Bertuzzi/Raymond, Vrana/Perron and Kubalik/Zadina. Many fans will point to Zadina as the weakest link, but after signing a three-year extension, he will get the first crack at remaining in Detroit.

Berggren is coming off a stellar first season in Grand Rapids, scoring 21 goals totaling 64 points in 70 games. If an injury occurs to a top-nine winger, Berggren will be first-in-line to receive a call-up, especially if he can pick right up where he left off last season.