Similar to how the Detroit Red Wings eased top prospect and eventual Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider into the system, patience is paying off with Simon Edvinsson.
Edvinsson, 20, is proving he can be a vital part of the turnaround in Detroit. The 6-foot-4 defender is Detroit’s top defense prospect and, for most, the consensus no. 2 prospect in the organization behind center Marco Kasper.
The towering left-handed defender in eight NHL games has proven that he can handle the workload that comes with being a top-four defenseman, along with confirming that he won’t be pushed around nor will be shy away from the physical aspects of the game. Take Detroit’s matchup with Toronto last Sunday, for example. Edvinsson was on the ice with three other youthful Red Wings (Kasper, Seider, Lucas Raymond) and Andrew Copp when chaos ensued. Kasper started the confrontation after being pushed by a couple of Leafs following the whistle.
As the disturbance escalated between the two clubs, Detroit’s youth wouldn’t back down. It was Toronto’s Michael Bunting doing his best Brad Marchand impression, albeit a poor man’s Marchand, continuing to stir the pot after things cooled down. Edvinsson continued to skate toward Bunting as the officials quickly intervened, but Detroit’s young defenseman proved he wouldn’t be intimidated by anyone at the NHL level. Bunting dragged Seider’s stick away with his skate and then appeared to spit at Edvinsson’s skates before being ejected from the contest—such a despicable act.
Simon Edvinsson has been just as advertised in a short stint with the Detroit Red Wings.
Edvinsson wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when he arrived in North America to start his professional career with the Grand Rapids Griffins to begin the 2022-23 season.
“I don’t rush too much into the situation now” said Edvinsson, who feels he is using his physicality more than before. ” I feel more comfortable in the game, and that’s helped me a lot with the puck and without the puck.”
Former Detroit Red Wings draft pick and current assistant coach Bob Boughner, who runs the defense, credits Grand Rapids for grooming Edvinsson into the player we’ve seen over eight NHL games this season.
“What we saw the first couple of games he’s played here after his call-up, he’s a little bit of a different player than we saw at training camp or preseason,” Boughner said. “His game is more assertive, and he’s bringing that physicality to his game. He’s making smarter, easier decisions, quicker decisions with the puck. That comes from just getting down there (the AHL) and playing games and learning the North American game.”
Edvinsson totaled five goals and 27 points over 55 games this season with the Griffins before getting the call to Detroit, where he could showcase his skill set and get a head start on adapting to the NHL level before the start of next season when he’s expected to become a stalwart on the Red Wings blue line.
The young 20-year-old has played eight games to date and will play just one more of Detroit’s remaining three games of the season to avoid burning the first year of his three-year entry-level contract.
Over the first eight games, Edvinsson has averaged slightly under 17 minutes of ice time while recording two goals and skating to a minus-5 while being primarily paired with veteran Ben Chiarot.
Head coach Derek Lalonde has deployed the rookie defender in all situations to better gauge his progress, and he’s passed each test, never looking out of place. Sure, there will be some ups and downs, but that is expected from a young player, especially a defenseman. Expect Edvinsson to play a significant role in Detroit’s future, beginning right from the get-go next season.