The Detroit Red Wings need to give Jonatan Berggren a bigger slice of the pie for the rest of the season.
The Detroit Red Wings have been struggling as a team since their lengthy impressive west coast road trip that concluded about a week before the NHL trade deadline. Rookie winger Jonatan Berggren has also struggled of late. It’s nothing to worry about long-term, but the organization should consider skating the talented playmaker as a top-six forward down the stretch.
We know what to expect from the likes of David Perron, Pius Suter, and Adam Erne. As mentioned, Derek Lalonde skated Joe Veleno on Detroit’s top line this past Saturday in Philadelphia. Lalonde also skated Erne and Perron with Andrew Copp on the second unit, which left Berggren with Matt Luff and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line. With all due respect, skating Berggren with Luff and Czarnik isn’t doing the skillful winger any favors.
Like Veleno, Berggren has gone cold for an extended period. Over his last 18 games, the 22-year-old rookie has recorded one goal and two points while skating to a minus-14 rating. I admit, nothing here suggests that Lalonde needs to move Berggren up in Detroit’s lineup. Still, I feel if Berggren spent a consistent amount of time playing with Larkin and Raymond or Copp and Perron, he’d perform much better offensively than he has since the calendar turned to 2023.
In his rookie season, Berggren has totaled 12 goals and 23 points through 57 games, averaging nearly 13 and a half minutes of ice time. Ironically, like Zadina, and Veleno, Berggren was also drafted in the 2018 NHL Entry Level Draft, 33rd overall. Do you sense a trend here? These three young forwards are all about the same age. It takes prospects a while to find their game; some adapt to the NHL quicker than others.
The Detroit Red Wings need to give these three forwards a more prominent role down the stretch to evaluate them better heading into next season.