Abel to Yzerman
by George Malik on 02/13/11 at 10:01 AM ET
A so-late-breaking it’s early note worth an entry unto itself: In tandem with a pay-to-read article in Aftonbladet in which Red Wings prospect and Farjestads BK forward Hat Trick Dick Axelsson insists that he’s finally grown up at 23, Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill told Expressen’s Henrik Sjoberg that the Wings plan on speaking to Axelsson during the LG Games (Nill and Ari Vouri are attending the games), and when both parties agree that he’s ready, the Wings still want to bring Axelsson over to North America.
Here’s a rough translation of the thrust of the thrust of Sjoberg’s article, where Nill discusses Axelsson’s decision to leave the Grand Rapids Griffins in December of 2009:
“We understand exactly what happened, but he’s also a human being, which is why it was such a fussy [issue]. It was tough for him when he was younger, and maybe things didn’t turn out as he’d hoped they would.”
Even today, Nill will try to meet with Axelsson if there’s a good time to do so without disturbing him between games.
Later this spring the Red Wings will sit down with Axelsson and discuss his futuer. The point is that Detroit wants him back, so there are indications that the Eliteserien will lose one of its strongest personalities after this season.
Should be able to try again
“He has NHL-level skills, but only he will know when he’s ready. Dick has 10-15 years left in his career, and I could ask him to come over right now, but he has to feel that way, too,” says Nill.
From Dick Axelsson himself:
“Absolutely, I could try it again; the only thing I have to prove is that I’m more mature, and that I’m ready to take that step. That there’s still a chance. It can go well, but I won’t go until I’m ready.”
Axelsson’s intonation sounds the same as it did last time in one respect: when he’s discussing the concept that he has to be “ready” and that there’s a “chance,” he’s suggesting that he won’t go back to Detroit until he believes he has a realistic shot at making the Wings’ roster. He’s still not particularly keen on the idea of spending a season or two earning less than $105,000 in Grand Rapids when he can earn more money and have more exposure to employers guaranteeing a spot on their NHL rosters to him to entice him to leave Farjestads for North America.
That’s a problem because the Wings rarely guarantee any prospect they’re interested in signing anything more than a chance to battle for a roster spot during training camp and the exhibition season, and given the Wings’ current crop of forwards, it’s highly unlikely that he can out-muscle the non-waiver-exempt Cory Emmerton or Jan Mursak for a spot on next year’s team. If anything, the Wings may choose to keep him under contract for the long term and simply hope that at some point, Axelsson will be ready to roll the dice when the Wings’ roster looks different. Todd Bertuzzi, Tomas Holmstrom, Kris Draper and Mike Modano might retire over the next two or three years, and in that case Axelsson might have a more realistic chance to earn an NHL job.
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