Focusing on the Red Wings' Swedish gem Jonatan Berggren in his return to the NHL

Detroit Red Wings' Jonatan Berggren returned to the lineup against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, so every shift was examined to see how he faired.

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Period 1: It’s all happening at once

The opening period reminded me so much of the first time my dad and I tried making a fire in the wood stove at Letchworth State Park. The tools were there, but for whatever reason, things didn’t work out. Possibly timing, slightly off technique, or exhaustion might have played a similar role.

I will point out that before some not-so-great things happened, Berggren immediately found his way to his office—in front of the net. Setting up in front of a goaltender is not easy, especially against the Vegas Golden Knights, but Berggren stood tall.

On his second shift, Berggren moved the puck well enough. Then, a lot of learning happened in the following shifts. 

Before the shift, people will probably focus on (and cite why he belongs in the Grand Rapids Griffins’ lineup) an opposing player tied up Berggren’s stick. While Berggren backchecked, he assumed someone else would stop the puck from finding its way past Detroit Red Wings’ goaltender James Reimer. The biggest problem with this assumption is that everybody else assumed the same—until it was too late to stop the goal. 

On the succeeding shift, Berggren attempted his classic move. The outcome wasn’t great, but Berggren had a learning opportunity. As importantly, it didn’t dampen his shifts following as he continued to attempt to set up plays, however, not so dangerously.

Brief notes: (Figures from NaturalStatTrick.com, based on all situations)

Time on Ice (TOI): 4:07 time on ice (for reference, Daniel Sprong & Christian Fischer had less)

Corsi For Percentage (CF%): 80%

Expected Goals For Percentage (xGF%): 41.38%

TL/DR: Overall, period one was a learning experience for Berggren. It’s not ideal, but given the travel, late start, and the fact he hasn’t played an NHL-level game since December 29, 2023, it could’ve been a lot worse.