Edvinsson scratching his potential as next impact Wings defenseman
Detroit — There was no question Simon Edvinsson was going to be drafted quickly last summer. When the Red Wings plucked him sixth overall, it wasn't surprising.
What team wouldn't want to add a 6-foot-4 inch rangy defenseman who can beat opponents in a variety of ways?
But the way Edvinsson has progressed this season has been eye-opening.
And for the Wings, exciting news.
Heading into the upcoming world junior championships in Edmonton, Edvinsson comes in as one of the leaders on Team Sweden, while enjoying a sensational season playing for Frolunda.
Edvinsson has 12 points (11 of them assists) in 24 games, with a plus-4 rating, while playing top-four minutes as an 18-year-old for the powerhouse organization.
Fredrik Sjostrom, the Frolunda general manager, has felt Edvinsson's potential has been an intriguing ingredient for scouts evaluating Edvinsson.
“Simon has tremendous upside,” Sjostrom said. “When you have that size and reach and skate as well as he does, you’re going to go early in the draft. In today’s game, you need speed and ability. He’ll definitely be a top-pair defenseman in the NHL.”
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The way Edvinsson is dominating in the Swedish Hockey League this season is reminiscent of another young Wings defenseman defenseman starring the SHL last season — Moritz Seider.
All Seider did as a 19-year-old last season while playing for Rogle was win the best defenseman award in the SL. He was generally regarded as the best defenseman playing in Europe.
Edvinsson is doing the same thing for Frolunda, expanding on what he's shown for NHL scouts the last two years.
Many analysts are already imagining the Wings pairing Edvinsson with Seider and giving the organization a pairing that could be dominant for more than a decade.
Both are versatile, mobile, can play a physical edge, and have the reach that only 6-foot-4 defensemen possess.
When the Wings selected Edvinsson in the draft, general manager Steve Yzerman raved about Edvinsson's potential to play a lot of minutes.
"He's a big, rangy D that can really skate," Yzerman said. "He's got good puck skills. We just see his potential to be a defenseman that can log a lot of minutes, (and) can be a solid defender that can add some offense to the game as well.
"We like his skating ability, his size, his reach and we're hoping he can become a big-minute defenseman for us."
Sjostrom, the Frolunda GM, played against Nicklas Lidstrom in the NHL and believes there are characteristics in Edvinsson's game that compare favorably with Lidstrom.
"He (Lidstrom) was one of the best defensive defensemen not because he was physical but because he was smart," Sjostrom said. "Simon doesn't get enough credit for his defensive game. He's a very good defender and moves really well for his size. He just needs time to grow into his body, to build strength the right way."