Hellberg sharp in more ways than one in successful Red Wings debut
Photo credit:Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould1 year ago
@Magnus Hellberg made his Detroit Red Wings debut in style with a 20-save performance in Friday’s 5–3 win over the New Jersey Devils.
The 31-year-old Swede finally made his first appearance with the Red Wings in the season finale after signing a one-year contract on April 13 to come over from HC Sochi of the Kontinental Hockey League.
Hellberg starting in the Red Wings’ crease meant the fans at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ got an extended look at some of the nicest goaltending equipment we’ve ever seen in the National Hockey League.
You’ve heard of the winged wheel … how about the winged pads?
Before departing for Europe in 2017, Hellberg spent five seasons in North America and made appearances with the Nashville Predators and New York Rangers. He last suited up in the NHL with the Rangers on April 9, 2017, making 24 saves in a 3–2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hellberg is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, with his current deal in Detroit only covering the remaining balance of the 2021–22 season. While he hasn’t had much of a chance to play since joining the Red Wings, Hellberg’s performance in Friday’s game was absolutely encouraging.
The 6’5″, 209-lb. netminder allowed three goals on 23 Devils shots, although he didn’t have much of a chance to stop either of the first two pucks that beat him. While Hellberg probably still wants @Fabian Zetterlund’s goal back, he counteracted it by making an outstanding stop on Zetterlund earlier in the game.
After Friday’s game, Hellberg spoke to the media and was very complimentary toward the Red Wings organization and his new teammates.
“I came here pretty late in the season, wanted to show what I can do. It’s a great group of guys in there, they welcomed me really well from the start,” Hellberg said. “I’ve been here a couple weeks now, I got to see the facilities, the staff around the team, the guys.
“I think Detroit has a really bright future and of course it would be a place I would like to be a part of in the future,” Hellberg added. “I’ve had a blast these last couple weeks I’ve been here.”
Hellberg posted a 13–20–4 record and a .917 save percentage in 37 KHL games with HC Sochi this season. He also appeared in two games with Team Sweden at the 2022 Winter Olympics men’s ice hockey tournament, posting one win and one loss to go along with a .927 save percentage.
The Red Wings currently have just two goaltenders signed to NHL contracts for the 2021–22 season: @Alex Nedeljkovic and top prospect @Sebastian Cossa. Hellberg, @Thomas Greiss, @Calvin Pickard, @Filip Larsson, @Victor Brattstrom, and @Kaden Fulcher are all set to become free agents this summer.
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