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 3: Oh Yeah (Continuing my Kronk voice)

After Berggren got his fire roaring, he seemed as comfortable as my family was in a quaint cabin with a roaring wood stove on a tranquil autumn night. 

Berggren danced through his opponents. Jealous at his flashy moves, his opponents decided to haul him to the ice, which led to a power play. It’s refreshing to see that the NHL found their whistle where the AHL referees never seemed to. (For context, Berggren was fair game for all kinds of trips, cross-checks, hooks, holds, etc). Rewarding Berggren’s efforts, he had a chance on the second power-play unit.

Even though Berggren didn’t directly lead to the goal, he led to the power play and kept himself as an option in the soft part of the ice, so it’s all positive for me.

Couple these positives with the fact that Berggren’s defensive zone coverage improved in the third period, finding his legs and effectively driving play reflects his comfortability level growing.

One aspect of Berggren’s game that could stand to improve is his line changes. They aren’t consistently timed the best. It reminds me of Robby Fabbri a bit back in the day when he stayed out a bit too long. In Berggren’s case, it’s not only staying on the ice too long but waiting until he gives up on a play. Then basically says, “I’m done. It’s your turn,” regardless of where the puck is or the impact it might have on his teammate entering the ice. Maybe his intentions are good, and he thinks his teammate may have better legs, a better angle, or a head start. Maybe something else, but for me, I’m not a fan of the line changes a lot of the time.

Based on Lalonde’s previous comments about loving young players and being patient with them, I’m hoping this will diminish over time. (I almost assume it will, along with every other aspect of Berggren’s game. Though not likely, I dream of seeing Berggren and Alex DeBrincat on the ice together for a few shifts).

Amidst my thoughts on questionable line changes, Berggren earned his second power play of the night. Moving his feet and driving to the net make for a lethal combination for Berggren, who should earn plenty of power plays as Raymond does for the Detroit Red Wings.

As for the time on ice for Berggren, I’m pleasantly surprised. I worried he would get the Klim Kostin treatment of 5-7 minutes without any power play time. Lalonde dashed part of my fears as Berggren earned more time on ice and power play time, but my biggest gripe was the lack of ice time for Berggren in the final 5 minutes of the game. In my opinion, he gave the Detroit Red Wings as good of chances as any player in the third to score (or at the very least, he earned more power play time than any other player, which would have been a welcomed sight, too). I get playing the big guns for the majority of the time, but it doesn’t make me any less disappointed.

Brief Notes:

TOI: 12:22

CF%: 76% (second on the team to Raymond)

xGF%: 71.59% (second on the team to Raymond)

TL/DR: Berggren played comfortably and confidently in the third period, and he should have played more in the late third period. Oh well, at least he had real minutes with decent opportunities. Hopefully, he will have more in the next game.

Berggren has more than earned his wings and is ready to take a full-time spot in the NHL. It’s not fun when it comes at the expense of injuries. Hopefully, Michael Rasmussen, who has some of the worst injury luck, catches a metaphorical break. As for the Detroit Red Wings captain, Dylan Larkin, here’s to hoping he takes all the time he needs and comes back when he’s healthy and ready, not a moment sooner. 

In the meantime, I hope Berggren continues to earn ice time, including power play minutes, and a spot high in the lineup. It will only help Berggren and the Detroit Red Wings alike.