Simon Edvinsson will be a star on the Red Wings’ blue line for years to come. He is talented, intelligent, big, poised, skilled, and a strong skater. But I don’t think this year will be his breakout year.
The blue line is crowded. Yzerman acquired four new NHL-caliber defensemen (five when Pysyk returns from injury). Chiarot, Määttä, Hägg, and Kampfer have a lot of games under their belts. Although none are major stars, all improve the blue line.
Including Edvinsson, eleven players are realistically competing for six spots coming out of training camp. This is in addition to the five remaining blue liners (Seider, Walman, Oesterle, Lindstrom, and Hronek). Although there are several prospects competing with Edvinsson, most are a year or two away (Sebrango, Viro, McIsaac, Wallinder). Only Albert Johansson represents true competition for this year’s team.
What are the immediate expectations for Detroit Red Wings prospect Simon Edvinsson?
Edvinsson is, at worst, the 2nd most talented member of the current defensive group. But he is still growing. Literally. Since he was drafted, he is reported to have grown nearly two inches. His body is changing. He is gaining weight and strength through advanced training at his SHL team, Frolunda, and the Red Wings development team. Although he is physically ready to play in the NHL now, Edvinsson is a work in progress.
Physical growth is consistent with growth in his game. He’s not a hitter like Moritz Seider but uses his reach and stick to break up plays and smother opponents. This style requires sophistication, anticipation, and knowing angles of passers and shooters.
Familiarity with NHL-size rinks (about 13 feet narrower than international/SHL rinks) is a bigger factor for Edvinsson than Seider. When your game involves crushing forwards, the adjustment to the NHL game is easier than a style dependent on understanding angles of attack and anticipating plays.
Edvinsson will have to adjust to the pace of the narrow-ice North American game. His long skating stride is perfect for wide ice. But quickness and rapid acceleration are keys to avoiding hits that take their toll. The short shifts, relentless forechecking, speed, and rapid decision-making require adjustments for all first-year players. The skills are present, but the repetitions are not.
There is no doubt that Simon Edvinsson will be a star on the Red Wings as they return to the playoffs and Cup contention. He is a fast learner with vision and instinct. Despite all the talent and potential, Edvinsson’s brand of hockey may require a little more adjustment and refining than required by the 2021-2022 Calder Award winner.
He will be wearing the Winged Wheel soon, but it could be a good idea to slow the hype train just a little bit. Starting the year in Grand Rapids may be the best situation for his long-term development.