The love affair between the Detroit Red Wings and Swedish-born hockey players is second to none. Sandin Pellikka is a right-handed defenseman that is an extremely smooth skater with high hockey IQ and perhaps the most gifted offensive defenseman in the entire draft.
Sandin Pellikka played 22 games with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League this past season, recording two goals and five points. This followed a sensational season with the Skelleftea AIK Jr. club, where he totaled a whopping 16 goals and 36 points over 31 games.
What are the Detroit Red Wings getting in Axel Sandin Pellikka?
Sandin Pellikka’s game has been compared to that of Kris Letang’s; a reliable puck-moving defender that can create offense from the backend. Sandin Pellikka projects as a top-four NHL defender and will fit in nicely with Moritz Seider and Simon Edvinsson for years to come. Yzerman used the No. 17 pick received in the Filip Hronek deal to eventually replace the spot he vacated in Detroit’s lineup with a player with more offensive upside.
Sportsnet’s Jason Bukala’s scouting report for Sandin Pellikka;
"Transitional, two-way defenceman who can lead the rush on his own or distribute and join as an extra layer.Elite skater. Quick and agile. PP quarterback. A mostly area defender who relies on an active stick and his jump to space. Arrives ahead of opponents and moves pucks effectively.Leans top pairing NHL defenceman on projection."
Following the pick of Danielson, Steve Yzerman spoke with Emily Kaplan of ESPN. Yzerman continued to preach patience when asked where the Detroit Red Wings rebuild currently stands.
Yzerman said, “We’re still in the rebuilding phase; we want to continue to collect assets through the draft. We’re still there, and we are not at a point where we feel like we are close enough to really start going for it.” This followed an abundance of speculation that the Detroit Red Wings would entertain the idea of trading for disgruntled Ottawa Senators forward Alex DeBrincat.
Tonight is more proof that no one knows what Yzerman is thinking; he continues to be the definition of unpredictable.