Let’s face it: This Red Wings season is a lost cause. The NHL team sits in the cellar of the league standings and most fans have already turned their attention to the Draft Lottery in April. There isn’t much excitement in many of the team’s games and it is easy to get a general feeling of gloom. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on the organization’s prospects, to examine the Red Wings of the future across a plethora of professional and junior hockey leagues. And in helping you do so, I present to you the WingsNation midseason prospect stock report. We here at WingsNation have kept a spreadsheet going of the stats of every Red Wings prospect and editor-in-chief Cameron Kuom has been issuing monthly updates on the prospects.
What I am attempting to do over the course of three articles is to tie it altogether, giving a small blurb on every single prospect, indicating whether their season has exceeded expectations (stock up), met expectations (stock steady), or fallen short of expectations (stock down). These will be based on a combination of statistical performance, written anecdotes, video scouting, and in some cases, scouting with the help of other sources, particularly our friends at Griffins Nest, who have a far better sense of on-ice intangibles and development when it comes to AHL prospects than I do. Combining all of these factors, my goal is to give the readers a sense of where every prospect in the system stands halfway through the 2019-20 season.
Jonatan Berggren, LW
After a frustrating and injury-riddled first season in his D+1 campaign a year ago, Berggren is back on track with a very solid season in the SHL. Slowly earning himself more ice time, Berggren is currently at 12:18 TOI per game and has notched 12 points in 23 games, far better than his 3 points in 16 games before the back injury a year ago. It’s important to remember that Berggren was young for his draft year- he won’t turn 20 until July- so his development hasn’t really fallen off schedule yet. His stock is back on track, which is an improvement from the end of last season when worries were creeping in, so we’ll give him a slight stock up rating.
Stock: Slightly up
Gustav Berglund, D
|Frolunda J20 (SuperElit)||19||17||3||4||7|
Berglund has had a nice go of things in the SuperElit league. After playing 9 games with 0 points in his limited SuperElit trial a year ago, the defender has posted 7 points in 17 games for Frolunda’s top junior squad this season. This earned him a small tour of the SHL in October, playing tiny minutes in 5 games for the big dogs. Again, just getting a taste of the SHL at 18 is terrific for Berglund and his solid performance in the SuperElit makes him yet another interesting late round pick by Detroit. Still, a long, long, long way away, but also someone you can’t write off yet.
Victor Brattstrom, G
Brattstrom was one of two Swedish goalie picked by the Wings in the 2018 Draft, now playing in the Allsvenskan this season after Timra was relegated. Brattstrom is playing solid in the Swedish second division, ranking 5th and 8th in GAA and SV%, respectively. However, it’s important to remember that Brattstrom is already 22 years old, as he was a double overager when drafted. Thus, he is significantly behind fellow 2018 draft pick Jesper Eliasson’s pace developmentally. For now, Brattstrom is just another stab in the dark goalie.
Jesper Eliasson, G
The Swedish goaltender who was one of Detroit’s 3rd round choices in the 2018 Draft is having a very respectable season over in Sweden. After having an excellent season in the SuperElit league last year, Eliasson has since been moved up to the Allsvenskan. So far he’s held his own which is good to see, 10th in the league among goalies in SV%, which is important because he is playing against men. He will likely spend at least one more year in Sweden after this one, hopefully to get a real taste of the SHL, before coming to the North America.
Albin Grewe, RW
|Djurgarden J20 (SuperElit)||18||9||2||5||7|
That Grewe is playing in the SHL at 18 is good. That he gets very little playing time is frustrating, but not unexpected. It bears repeating that very few players make the SHL at 18 and it takes time to earn the trust of the coaching staff, especially when you’re competing against men who are professionals. Additionally, Grewe’s tough guy style may not be suited for earning the trust of the coaching staff consistently, even being tossed from one game early in the year. Put simply, Grewe hasn’t played enough to pile up stats, often playing less than 6 minutes per game, which leads to his mostly empty stat-line. Right now, it’s hard to assess his performance until he gets more playing time.
Albert Johansson, D
|Farjestad J20 (SuperElit)||18||8||2||2||4|
It’s hard to get excited about this stat-line but it also has to be put in context. Johansson just recently turned 19 and is playing primarily in the SHL, logging almost 13 minutes per game. He’s one of just three U19 defensemen playing in the SHL, alongside two first round picks in Victor Soderstrom and Philip Broberg. Johansson actually has a higher PPG than Broberg too (!) and he’s starting to earn more minutes, even on Farjestad, which is one of the SHL’s best teams. Johansson is doing fine, it’s just hard for American fans to tell without regularly watching SHL games. Getting solid minutes in a strong pro league like the SHL is good for Johansson’s stock overall and so despite the seemingly unimpressive stats, be pleased.
Stock: Slightly up
Otto Kivenmaki, LW
The tiny Finnish center who endeared himself to Red Wings prospect watchers last year with a very strong season in Finland’s pro league has had a disappointing D+2 campaign, falling behind his point pace from a year ago. That said, his offense has been better as of late, with 11 points in his last 15 games, and Detroit fans have to hope he’s beginning to heat up. For a 7th round pick, this is still better than the baseline expectation, but after last year, it is hard to see Kivenmaki take a step back, as he also was left off Finland’s WJC roster. Whether he can have a strong second half to the season will be interesting to watch for Red Wings fans.
Malte Setkov, D
The giant (6’7”, 200 lbs.) Danish defenseman that the Red Wings took a flier on in the 4th round of the 2017 Draft, Setkov will play the rest of the season in the Allsvenskan, after being demoted from the SHL in November. His scoring is up in the Allsvenskan, but he received little ice time in the SHL. Setkov’s combination of size and experience in a respectable pro league make him a not totally obscure prospect, but about to turn 21, like other prospects in this 2017 class, it’s getting late for Setkov in terms of NHL hopes, and again there’s the uncertainty of whether Yzerman values Setkov as much as the previous group.
Elmer Soderblom, LW
|Frolunda J20 (SuperElit)||18||23||19||19||38|
The Red Wings took Soderblom in the 6th round, 159th overall, seemingly as a flier because of his immense size (6’7”, 227 lbs). After a summer that saw him garner a bit of praise from Red Wings fans during the prospect tournament, Soderblom has seemed like a genius late round pick, exploding for 38 points in 23 games (he had 17 in 44 games a year ago!!!!) in Sweden’s top junior league (1st in the league), and earning a call up to the SHL. As expected, he hasn’t played much at all in the SHL, but for someone who won’t turn 19 until the summer, playing in that league at all is a huge achievement at this stage. And for a 6th rounder, it has been an unreal season so far. The Wings might just have something here.
Stock: Way up
Antti Tuomisto, D
|Assat U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)||18||34||15||22||37|
Tuomisto continues to annihilate Finland’s top junior league in offense by a defenseman, and he would have been moved up to the Liiga a long time ago if not for his decision to play college hockey next year. Domination in this league is not unexpected though, and should be the expectation quite frankly for a guy drafted so high. Tuomisto committed to Denver a few weeks ago and so his path is probably NCAA 2020-21, then AHL 2021-22, with NHL after. There’s really nothing for Tuomisto to accomplish in the junior league and so long as he continues to dominate offensively, his stock remains the same. We can do nothing really but wait for Tuomisto to show up to Denver this fall.
Kirill Tyutyayev, LW
The Red Wings took a bizarre late round flier on a bite-sized overage winger last year and his mostly unknown development has continued as expected. After being at a point-per-game (60 points in 60 games) in the MHL (Russia’s top junior league) a year ago, he has slightly topped that in a small sample size after his season got off to a late start due to injury. He was then promoted to the VHL (Russia’s second tier mens league), and is playing a solid amount, all while posting 7 points in 9 games. Hopefully he will play the rest of the season in the VHL and can become more of a candidate for a future KHL call up.
Joren van Pottelberghe, G
|HC Davos (NLA)||22||.912||2.68||10-6-1|
It would be easy to forget about van Pottelberghe, as the former 4th round pick that has spent his entire career in Europe, still unsigned by the Red Wings. Now in the Swiss pro league, the NLA, van Pottelberghe’s stats are mostly pedestrian this campaign and thus, he hasn’t done much to move the needle towards him being considered a contender to be a piece between the pipes for Detroit long term. At 22, he’s reaching the end of prospect status and is clearly behind Petruzzelli, Eliasson, and Larsson on the goalie chart. He’s not on track to be signed and thus it’s a stock down designation.