Red Wings draft pick Albin Grewe embraces reputation as agitator

By Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — To get a pretty good read into what kind of hockey player Albin Grewe is, just ask him who is favorite player is.

Here’s a hint: it’s not the likes of Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby or Dylan Larkin.

He’s much more of an agitator.

Right wing Albin Grewe of Sweden plans to play with the Ontario Hockey League Saginaw Spirit, which is more tailored to his North American-styled game.

How about Brad Marchand?

“I always play as I do,” said Grewe, given the nickname "T-Rex" by a junior coach because he eats everyone below the food chain, after his workout Wednesday at the Red Wings’ development camp. “Then I also watched Brad Marchand, and l like what he (does).”

Grewe was the Red Wings’ third-round selection last weekend. If he turns out to be half the player Marchand has become — pest-like qualities on the ice, and all — everyone around the organization, front office to fans, likely would be fans.

Grewe had 102 penalty minutes in only 25 games last season for Djurgarden (Sweden), but also was more than a point-per-game player, with 13 goals and 21 assists (34 points).

A concussion shelved Grewe for about a month, and he had a difficult time returning, though he said it’s not an issue anymore

The 6-foot, 187-pound Grewe isn’t shy when describing his style of play.

“A power forward,” Grewe said. “I like to score goals and I like to get under the opponents’ skin, too. I like to hit my opponents, too.

“Stuff like that.”

Grewe was back in Sweden watching the draft at home when he heard his name called by the Wings.

There were several scouting services which had Grewe going higher in the draft, mostly in the second round.

“It’s so fun to be here,” Grewe said. “I always watched Detroit when I was a young kid. I liked the Swedes, (Henrik) Zetterberg, (Niklas) Kronwall. I liked all the Swedes here.

“I was picked when I think I was going to be picked. I’m just happy Detroit picked me.”

Kronwall left a message, Grewe said, congratulating him and telling Grewe he’d like to meet him.

Hakan Andersson, the Red Wings’ director of European scouting who watched Grewe often, related a story at the draft about Grewe’s competitiveness and what he can bring to a team.

“Albin Grewe is an outstanding competitor,” Andersson said. “I can see how he pictures himself after Brad Marchand. He’s very competitive. Out of the Europeans, probably the most competitive player in the whole draft — and in many years, I would say.

“The senior coach in Djurgarden, a top team in the senior league, one of the better ones, said, ‘I didn't realize it until I started to look around, but every time this kid (Grewe) came up and practiced with the men’s team, the whole intensity of the practice, the physical part of the practice, would go up’.

“At first, he didn't know why. Then he realized every time this kid (Grewe) came up, he just brought the whole pace up.”

Memorable game

One game stood out for defenseman Cooper Moore last season, the Wings’ fifth-round pick Saturday, that somewhat catapulted Moore into the limelight.

Moore scored five goals for Brunswick School in its 6-6 tie against New Hampshire in the Exeter Invitational early in the season.

“I just remember everything clicked,” Moore said. “Every shot. I got opportunities (in the game), two were on the power play and we had a real good power play.”

Several news stories about the game suggested Moore could have had seven or eight goals in the game.

“There was one in overtime I hit a post,” Moore said. “That would been nice (to end the game that way).”

A slick-skating offensive defenseman, Moore said he attracted more attention from NHL and college scouts after that game.

Disappointing season

Defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo is hoping for a rebound — for himself, and his Boston University teammates.

Kotkansalo, the Wings’ 2017 3rd-round pick, had no goals and 11 assists in 38 games with a minus-8 plus-minus rating on a Boston team that went 16-18-4.

“Not good, it was a tough season,” Kotkansalo said. “As a team, individually, a very tough season. It’s just something that happens sometimes.”

Kotkansalo will be joined by draft picks Robert Mastrosimone (2019, second round) and Ethan Phillips (2019, fourth round) at Boston this season.

“It’s awesome,” Kotkansalo said. “I don’t know the guys at all, but it’s real important for them and for me to get some kind of relationship before the season starts.”

Twitter: @tkulfan