Detroit Red Wings: Swedish prospect Jonatan Berggren’s red-hot start

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Prospect Jonatan Berggren is one of the scoring leaders of the Swedish Hockey League. What does this mean for the Detroit Red Wings? Can he keep this pace up all year?

For the first time in years, Detroit Red Wings fans have an offseason full of excitement. A wide array of Detroit’s players and prospect pool have been loaned to European leagues while they await a return time to the NHL and AHL. However, the most exciting development of the last month has been Jonatan Berggren‘s domination of the Swedish Hockey League.

Berggren, who spent most of last season recovering from injury, is currently third in SHL scoring with 16 points in just 10 games. The other two leaders — SHL veterans — are 32 and 29 years old. Berggren, on the other hand, is just 20 years of age.

The prospect’s white-hot start to his season shows signs of serious promise as a player. But will his success translate to the NHL? Today, we’ll take a look at Jonatan Berggren’s progress and how it’s factored into his game today.

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Jonatan Berggren’s progress so far

Taken at 33rd overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Jonatan Berggren was touted for his speed, agility, and quick thinking while on the ice.

Berggren was initially projected to be a first-round pick, but his fall in the rankings provided Detroit with the perfect opportunity to obtain top talent.

Between Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno, and Berggren, the 2018 draft for the Detroit Red Wings seems to be nothing short of a success; in fact, Berggren’s meteoric rise through the rankings shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

In the 2018-19 season, Berggren spent time between the SHL and the Swedish U20 leagues, amassing three points in 16 games with the SHL and three in five games in the U20 league.

A shoulder injury shortened his season, preventing him from securing a long-term spot in either league. The following season saw his numbers shortened again; a lower back injury cut his season to just 24 SHL games, where Berggren scored 12 points.

Until this season, luck wasn’t on Berggren’s side. Fortunately, fate has a funny way of turning things around when you least expect it.

Berggren’s Swedish dominance this season

While his previous numbers don’t leap off the page, this year’s early breakout has shown signs of serious potential. In just ten SHL games, Berggren has amassed 16 points. He’s the highest-scoring prospect in the SHL and has shown zero signs of slowing down.

Every game, he seems to pull out a new trick from his toolkit. From deflections to crafty plays, Berggren is a Swiss (or Swedish, in this instance) Army Knife of offensive adaptability. He’ll have all season long to continue to test the limits, but as of right now, he seems to be a lock for one of the best prospects Detroit has had in a very long time.

What does this mean for the future?

As we’ve discussed in the past, Berggren’s dominance could bode potential North American success in as little as a season. With fellow Swede Lucas Raymond taking apart the SHL piece by piece, the two could form a lethal scoring threat on both wings.

As of right now, Berggren is showing little to no signs of slowing down. He’ll likely get his chance to audition on NHL ice once the SHL season ends in March of 2021. His full-time opportunity will likely come during the 2021-2022 season, where he’ll be fighting for a spot alongside Raymond and a slew of other players.

The future is looking bright in Detroit, and Berggren’s white-hot start is a perfect example of what happens when a prospect is given an opportunity to show what he can do.

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Now, the decision is left up to the front office, could Jonatan Berggren suit up for the Detroit Red Wings in 2020-21 or will he continue on his tear in the SHL? Let us know in the comments!