from Nate Brown of Detroit Hockey Now,
Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman had simple advice for Simon Edvinsson on the eve of playing his first game with Detroit.
“Before that first game against Colorado I said, ‘If you can play against these guys you can play against anybody,’ Walman said. “I thought he had a good showing and I’m sure everybody is excited and has been talking about him for a while.”
Arguably Detroit’s top prospect for the past two seasons, Edvinsson is about to graduate from prospect and likely into NHL regular heading into the 2023-24 season. The buzz from the fanbase is one thing. But even his teammates can see the special attributes there for the 20-year-old defenseman.
“I think he was awesome,” defenseman Olli Määttä said of Edvinsson’s nine games in Detroit. “For a young guy obviously he’s a big guy. He plays with a lot of edge. He can skate, he has a lot of skill also. I think seeing him and seeing Marco play that game and practice with us, it seems like there’s a lot of good players coming that would help us, help us a lot.”
Edvinsson is the prototypical Steve Yzerman defenseman: Smart, big, and skilled. Standing at 6’6, a decade of offenses having to tussle with the likes of Moritz Seider and Edvinsson makes any opposing GM’s head spin….if indeed it all comes together.
From Seider’s perspective, it may very well have already started.
“I think (we) bonded right from the start pretty well and it will just be better and better from every season now,” Seider said. “I think we have a really good D corps. We signed guys early during the year and I think everybody on the D corps is very happy with each other. We will continue to get better, build more chemistry and hopefully be a really tough D corps to play against.”
Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News with his final grades in slideshow formaT.
GOALTENDERS Magnus Hellberg — 4-8-1, 3.29 goals-against average, .885 save percentage. Contract: Unrestricted free agent. Analysis: The Wings claimed Hellberg off waivers around midseason and he replaced Alex Nedeljkovic as the backup. Hellberg had some good games, but he wasn’t nearly consistent enough (sometimes in singular games) to be counted upon more often. It’ll be surprising seeing Hellberg brought back. Grade: D
Ville Husso — 26-22-7, 3.11 GAA, .896 SVS. Contract: Two years remaining, $4.75 million AAV (average annual value, salary cap hit). Analysis: Whether it was the career-high workload (56 games), an undisclosed lower-body injury, or the defense in front of him, Husso wasn’t the same goaltender late in the season. After a terrific first half, when Husso was arguably the team MVP, he was 3-9-2 (3.93 GAA, .857 SVS) over his final 14 starts. That’s not nearly good enough. Grade: B-minus
Alex Nedeljkovic — 5-7-2, 3.53 GAA, .895 SVS. Contract: UFA. Analysis: After a fabulous first half in 2021-22, Nedeljkovic hasn’t been the same since. Nedeljkovic was demoted to Grand Rapids near midseason, found his game, and had a three-game win streak with the Wings late in the season, restoring some confidence. He might find a better opportunity elsewhere. Grade: D
What the Wings could be right now without the last 5 years of Holland drafting.
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