While the Detroit Red Wings haven’t played a single game since Mar. 10 and probably won’t return to the ice before December, a handful of their top young skaters are planning to travel to Europe for the 2020-21 season and the team’s top goaltending prospect is now expected to join that group of players.
Per the Red Wings’ social media account, goaltender Filip Larsson has been loaned to Almtuna, who plays in the second-highest professional league in Sweden, for the upcoming season. Depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, their season is slated to begin later this month and it will run through mid-March.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) September 2, 2020
Originally drafted during the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Larsson, 22, has spent the last three seasons in North America, splitting time between the USHL, NCHC, ECHL, and the AHL since the 2017-18 campaign. In addition, the 6-foot-2 goaltender also helped Sweden capture a silver medal during the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, making one appearance during the tournament.
Hitting his stride with the Tri-City Storm during the 2017-18 campaign, the Sweden native played in 30 games, recording an 18-10 record along with seven shutouts, 1.65 GAA, and a .941 save percentage. As a result of this stellar performance, the youngster was named the USHL Goaltender of the Year and earned First All-Star Team honors as well.
Making the transition to the NCAA during the following season, Larsson was able to carry his impressive production into his freshman campaign at Denver. Despite missing the first two months of the season due to injury, the former Pioneer was still able to play 22 games, producing a 1.95 GAA, .932 save percentage, along with four shutouts. Even though he departed after just one season, the emerging star still was named to the 2019 NCHC All-Rookie Team and also became a finalist for the conference’s goalie of the year award.
After signing a three-year entry-level deal in 2019, the left-handed catching goalie was assigned to the Toledo Walleye and continued to perform well, recording a 2.27 GAA and a .910 save percentage over 10 games. Unfortunately, he struggled mightily over his seven appearances with the Grand Rapids Griffins, producing a 4.01 GAA and a .843 save percentage through seven games.
While Larsson’s 2019-20 season came to a rough end, he’s still considered Detroit’s top goaltending prospect and the young goalkeeper should be a name to keep an eye on over the next few seasons. Without any Red Wings games to watch, rooting for the Almtuna IS could become the next best thing until hockey returns to Michigan next season.