Detroit — The Red Wings are going to be able to monitor the progress of Albin Grewe a little better next season.
The Swedish prospect, who was a Wings’ 2019 third-round pick, last week signed an Ontario Hockey League contract with the Saginaw Spirit.
So, the Wings can keep tabs on one of their more intriguing prospects with a drive north on I-75.
“He wants to do what he can for his development, and playing more games over here in the best junior league in Canada is definitely going to help his development,” said Shawn Horcoff, the Wings’ director of player development.
Grewe, who was a second-round pick of Saginaw in the OHL import draft, is a bit different from your typical European, specifically Swedish, prospect.
Grewe is a hard-core agitator who said during last year’s development camp he enjoys watching Boston’s Brad Marchand play — Marchand being the king of NHL pests.
But Marchand has also developed his skills into becoming one of the NHL’s most dangerous offensive players.
Grewe isn’t there yet, but the potential is there.
In 42 games last season (playing for Djurgadens), Grewe had 20 points (7 goals, 13 assists) while seeing time with both the junior and men’s league teams.
Horcoff believes Grewe, 19, will adjust well to the North American style.
“The North American game suits his style,” Horcoff said. “He’s a gritty player that plays hard on the wall and gets to the hard areas. He plays like more of a prototypical North American player and I just think the game over here will suit him better.”
In Sweden, said Horcoff, moving into men’s league (Swedish Hockey League) can be a major adjustment. Playing against his peers, should help Grewe.
“It’s not an easy transition at this stage over there,” Horcoff said. “He’s kind of played himself through the junior league in Sweden and the next logical step is the SHL, but that’s a men’s league, their pro league over there and it’s a very good league and it’s not always easy to get quality minutes and playing time.
“He wants to play and he wants to play a lot.”
At 6-foot, 187-pounds, Grewe has a body that’s almost ready for pro hockey right now. And certainly, his style of play could be effective, someday, in the NHL.
“He plays hard and goes to the hard areas,” Horcoff said. “He can play a 200-foot game. We like his intensity and compete, that’s the biggest thing that really bleed out from him.
“We’re excited. We like those kind of players. We want guys who play hard and want to play in the hard areas. In the NHL, it’s no secret where goals are scored and he’s a guy who is willing to go there.”
While with Saginaw next season Grewe could play with Spirit forward Cole Perfetti, who is expected to be picked within the top 10 picks in the NHL Entry Draft — and possibly could go to the Wings at No. 4 overall.
Regardless, Grewe should strengthen an already good Spirits lineup.
“Albin is a skilled, ultra-competitive player that will help push the pace for our group each and every day,” said Dave Drinkill, Saginaw general manager in a statement. “He is a player you want to have on your team but definitely do not want to play against.
“Not only does he play extremely hard and competitive, but he has the skillset and mindset to play our style of play. We look forward to seeing what he can do in Saginaw with a strong cast of forwards with him this year.”