Bad news for Detroit Red Wings prospect Jonatan Berggren

There’s some bad news on the horizon for Detroit Red Wings prospect Jonatan Berggren, what might it be?
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Growing up, I had big dreams. They seemed to change weekly, but it didn’t slow my passion with each budding job idea. 

My earliest memory of a dream job stemmed from The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. The over-sized piano on the floor was cool, but even from an early age I was aware music wasn’t my calling.

Instead, I found my destiny in the Wegmans store (for anyone who doesn’t know, it’s an epic grocery store chain). Becoming a cashier was the goal, I know, I aimed high in life. At home, I even converted our dinosaur of an Apple Macintosh computer (it was the full name back then) to my home cash register. For those of you on the edge of your seat, you’ll be pleased to know I achieved my lifelong dream at age 17. A local grocery store hired me, so mission accomplished.

Someone else lived out his childhood dream recently, and I couldn’t be prouder. 

The Swedish Gem. Dancing King. Johnny Burgers. Goofball. Jonathan.

Jonatan Berggren is a man with seemingly as many nicknames as he does dreams. One of which he recently lived out:

With that said, I reckon there is bad news on the horizon for Berggren. Here’s what and why.

At times, it seems like Berggren is as shocked with the goals he scores as he is with the loud bus horn. Downplaying his accomplishments and minimizing his achievements is almost a guarantee.

Maybe it derives from his time growing up in Sweden. Seemingly a country that emphasizes humility, except for Zlatan Ibrahimović, Berggren embodies humility almost to a fault.

Take for example his post-game interview following his first professional hat trick. He indicates that while it was a cool feeling (seeing so many hats on the ice), it’s likely to be his only hat trick. 

He seems to get a bit uncomfortable when he’s told of his 300 professional game mark, as well. It’s a trend that I’ve noticed with his fellow Swedes. Even the most confident Swede has his moments of humility. 

Take for example Simon Edvinsson, he brags about being the best soccer player on the Grand Rapids Griffins (much to the disagreement of the Leader of the Sassy Swedes, Albert Johansson). When he receives praise for his on-ice game, he can get a bit shy but not to the degree of Berggren.

Berggren has always claimed to be a playmaker. This year, though, Berggren wanted to play a bit more selfishly. I find it interesting that he claims it’s selfish to take a shot rather than make a pass.  This point has always baffled me.

It brings me back to the Detroit Red Wings players deferring on empty net goals. The players seem to think it’s selfish to take the shot at the empty net. Wanting to share the wealth is great, however, some players forget that another player may lose out on a point if an additional pass or two is added to the play. Realistically, it could be considered just as selfish to take away another player’s point as it is giving a point to someone else.

Another reason it’s not selfish, the whole idea of a hockey game is to win. It’s not about getting assists but scoring goals. If a player passes on a prime opportunity to shoot in fear of being selfish or because he’s not confident in his shot, I consider it an opportunity to change the line of thinking.

Of course, if a teammate has a better lane to the net and a player, like Berggren, is confident in getting the puck through traffic, then it’s a no-brainer to pass. We saw a few times where things did not go as planned in the NHL for Berggren threading passes through traffic, so it might be wise to rethink potential passing lanes in favor of more shooting lanes.

Either way, I don’t think either play should about being selfish or selfless, but a player attempting to do the best for his team.

I look to Lucas Raymond as a great example. His numbers are similar to Berggren’s, albeit in a different league, but a similar output of goals to assists. 

Berggren: Games Played 53, Goals 24, Assists 32, Total Points: 56
Raymond: Games Played 82, Goals 31, Assists 41, Total Points: 72

To me, he’s not thinking about himself on the ice. 

Raymond’s confident in his shot, but I’m not sure that he ever thinks about being selfish versus selfless. Instead, he seems to want to do the best for his team through any means necessary. If the situation calls for his playmaking, he is confident in delivering it. Just as confidently, he seems to shoot the puck without hesitation. As a fellow Swede, he still demonstrates humility on and off the ice, but it’s not detrimental to his game. 

It would be great if Berggren takes steps in feeling confident and accepting of himself. All I can speak to his on-ice performance and his off-ice reactions to it, but it seems like he sells himself short. 

His playmaking is tremendous. However, he’s more than a complimentary player. He is capable of driving play in all zones of the ice. When he’s at his best, he makes every teammate better, whether it’s a linemate or defenseman, Berggren pulls the team wherever it needs to go. It’s not boastful or cocky, it’s the truth.

He’s earned every accolade he’s got, including his first professional hat trick. Including the way he dragged his team to home-ice advantage in round 1 of the playoffs.

Part of his incredible toolkit is his wicked shot. Whether it’s pure luck, intuition, or a skill he possesses, it’s an important part of his game. In turn, it’s part of who he is as a player.

Self-acceptance is hard. I struggle with it on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s the most challenging thing to do, feel comfortable in my own skin and confident in who I am. It’s why a band like I Prevail really hits home with me. For example, the song “Deep End” helps me through a lot of dark times in my own mind. 

Who knows how Berggren feels. These comments I made solely come from his comments and the way that he downplays all the things he does so well. I’m hoping that at some point, Berggren accepts himself for who he is in his entirety. He deserves nothing less.

The bad news for Berggren might mean accepting the fact that he is a goal scorer.

At the very least, Berggren is a player who knows how to score. Based on my viewings of Berggren, though, I’ve seen him score goals that only players like Alex DeBrincat score. Part of it could be luck, but when the puck goes perfectly in between a post and a goalie’s head, the player must have found a field full of 4-leaf clovers. 

Embracing this side of Berggren’s game opens even more opportunities in the long-term for playmaking. If teams know he can shoot, then it likely opens lanes to his wide-open teammate (as we know opponents love zeroing in on Berggren and referees never see any penalties against Berggren in the American Hockey League (AHL)). 

Also, if he scores, then I’m not sure anyone on the team would deem his actions as selfish. Quite the contrary with a guy like Sebastian Cossa who would likely be the biggest supporter of Berggren being more selfish.

Berggren is playing tremendously well. Here’s to hoping he owns every bit of himself and is confident in every aspect of his games—not only the parts he’s used to embracing.

I will say, Berggren the Goal Scorer has a nice ring to it.

dark. Next. May 15 2. Grand Rapids Griffins unofficial playlist and keys to success