Detroit Red Wings’ Jonatan Berggren tearing up Swedish League; ‘game is in slow motion’

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James
| Detroit Free Press

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Brimming with confidence and health, Detroit Red Wings prospect Jonatan Berggren is having quite a season in the Swedish Hockey League.

Berggren, 20, is playing at better than a point-per-game, having crammed four goals and 15 assists into 17 games with Skellefteå AIK. He has already tallied two more goals and seven more points than he did last season in the SHL, when injuries limited him to 24 games.

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“I’ve built confidence and everything feels easier,” Berggren said in an interview posted on the SHL website. “It feels like the game is in slow motion. It is kind of nice being in that zone, having that feeling. You see passing lanes that are so obvious, yet they’re not. I’ve been on the other end of that, when a two-meter pass is the hardest thing in the world.”

The Wings drafted Berggren (5-foot-11, 183 pounds) 33rd overall in 2018, seeing the winger as a nice package of speed and skill, especially adapt at making plays. He spent most of the 2017-18 season in the J20 Superelit (Sweden’s top junior league) but appeared in 10 games at the SHL level. He played in only 16 games in 2018-19 because of a lower-back injury. Last season he was sidelined by shoulder surgery, though he was able to play for Sweden at the World Junior Championship, helping them capture the bronze medal.

[Add Lucas Raymond to list of Red Wings dominating in Europe ]

Berggren’s 19 points rank third in the SHL.

“I’m trying to get to the net more,” he said. “But I had a good start to the season and I’ve been able to build off of that. To me, last season was important. I got a receipt that I could play at this level and do my things.”

With the NHL still trying to sort out the logistics of staging a season as COVID-19 ravages North America(the starting target date remains Jan. 1), Berggren is in a good spot starring in the SHL. He could be looking at coming over for the 2021-22 season.

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“Playing in the NHL is something I’ve been thinking about, and dreaming of since I started playing,” Berggren said. “And now I’m closer to realizing that dream than ever. It’s all about that final push. And if I think about all the work I’ve put in to be able to try to make that push. … It has all been worth it.”

Berggren is one of several Wings prospects thriving in the SHL, a list that also includes forwards Mathias Bromé (15 points in 16 games with Örebro) and Lucas Raymond (10 points in 15 games with Frölunda) and defenseman Moritz Seider (seven points in eight games with Rögle).

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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