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Wings sign 2014 draft pick Axel Holmstrom

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Axel Holmstrom plays for Team Sweden

Detroit – The Red Wings struck gold with a Holmstrom once before, and they're hoping to do so again.

Forward Axel Holmstrom – no relation to former Red Wings star Tomas Holmstrom – was signed Monday to a three-year entry-level contract.

Holmstrom, 18, was the Red Wings' 2014 seventh-round pick (196th overall) and flourished in the Swedish Elite League last season.

In 44 games with Skelleftea, he had 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists), ranking second among junior-aged players in the pro league.

Holmstrom drew rave reviews for his work in the playoffs, scoring a league-leading 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 15 games, setting a new scoring record for a junior player.

After the season, Holmstrom was named the Swedish Junior Hockey Player of the Year.

Holmstrom had seven points (one goal, six assists) in seven games at the 2015 world junior championships.

At 6-foot-1 and 198 pounds, Holmstrom has good size, and like the other Holmstrom, he isn't afraid of going to the net.

Speed and skating are his drawbacks – just like the other Holmstrom – but Axel Holmstrom has a knack for scoring.

Holmstrom will spend another season in Sweden before coming to North America.

Tomas Holmstrom wasn't drafted by the Red Wings until the 10th round in 1994. But he went on to a productive 15-year NHL career in Detroit, with 1,026 games, 243 goals and 287 assists. He helped the Red Wings win four Stanley Cups.

Assistants coming

Wings GM Ken Holland hopes to name Jeff Blashill's assistants this week.

He said he'll meet with Chris Chelios at some point this week. Chelios was a part-time assistant under Blashill the last three seasons in Grand Rapids.

Holland also said he hadn't heard from Tony Granato, who was on Mike Babcock's staff last season but did not join Babcock with the Maple Leafs.

Meetings start Tuesday

Red Wings management, amateur and pro scouts, and Blashill will meet Tuesday-Thursday for organizational meetings.

They'll assess every player in the organization, other players, and discuss plans for the June 26-27 draft and the unrestricted free-agency period that begins July 1.

Trades also will be discussed.

"I've been getting phone calls, teams are formulating their (offseason) plans, and finding out what other teams are thinking," Holland said. "As we get closer to the draft, I'm sure there will be more interest around the league."

One of the players who is apparently getting interest from other teams is forward Anthony Mantha (2013 first-round draft pick), who could be on the block according to reports out of Canada.

Mantha struggled his rookie season in Grand Rapids, scoring 15 goals during the regular season and two in the playoffs.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

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