Detroit − General manager Steve Yzerman mentioned before training camp began that forward Jonatan Berggren might be a young player to keep an eye on.
Berggren had success in Grand Rapids last season, and showed late in the AHL season he could be ready for the NHL.
So far in training camp, Berggren hasn’t looked out of place.
While skating with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond in an intrasquad scrimmage, Berggren made plays and appeared comfortable with the pace of the Wings’ top line.
Coach Derek Lalonde has been impressed, but wants to see Berggren maintain the early performance.
“We want it consistently,” Lalonde said. “We want an everyday type of mentality. He got a great opportunity with a couple guys (Larkin, Raymond) who are going to be in our top six this year. Now you’re doing it against top NHL competition, and it’ll be a good test for him.”
Berggren was in the Wings’ lineup Tuesday in Pittsburgh, against a Penguins roster that was expected to have stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“That’s the hardest test you can get,” Berggren said. “They were my favorite players growing up, so it will be a dream come true to be on the same ice with them.”
Lalonde has stressed better defensive work, and good decisions with and without the puck when asked what he’s looking for from most of his forwards. Berggren is no different.
“Just managing the puck, not having those risky turnovers where’s risk in his game and where we’re spending time in our zone or odd-mans (rushes) the other way,” Lalonde said. “Continue being who he is. He’s an offensive guy. He makes little plays in tight areas. He creates offense but a little more commitment the other way too, which we’re going to ask of our whole team.”
Lalonde and his family decided that he would stay in Detroit this season while his wife and three kids remain in Tampa, where Lalonde was an assistant the last three seasons.
So, the new of Hurricane Ian descending on the Tampa area has been nerve-wracking for the entire Lalonde family.
“My family is there, so it’s a little scary,” Lalonde said. “Coming from Tampa, this time of year it’s the reality of living in Tampa. Usually I laugh all the time that we get these, and everyone calls me and wants to know if you’re OK and the worst we have is a broken branch.”
But this is different, with so many Floridians told to evacuate.
“This is real,” Lalonde said. “It’s scary.”
Lalonde’s family is driving to Michigan to temporarily relocate.
“I’m excited about it,” Lalonde said. “The first time we had to prepare we went straight to a bunker, and our neighbors laughed at us. But this is real.”
Lalonde was confused to learn he was named the third-most handsome NHL head coach according to a gambling website using beauty-technology analysis.
Lalonde finished behind Edmonton’s Jay Woodcroft and Nashville’s John Hynes.
“You sure that’s not the bottom (of the poll) up?” Lalonde said. “Those are two real good coaches, but I’d put them toward the bottom with me in that category. Where’s David Quinn?”
Quinn was ranked 29th.
“There you go, it’s the complete opposite,” Lalonde said. “If David Quinn is at the bottom and I’m at the top, that’s a bad, bad list.”
Tyler Bertuzzi, who hasn’t practiced since late last week, skated with Wings’ skill coaches for 40 minutes Tuesday, Lalonde said.
“He’s coming along nicely,” Lalonde said.
… Jakub Vrana was expected to play Tuesday, but came down sick in the morning. Elmer Soderblom replaced Vrana in the lineup.
Blackhawks at Red Wings
▶ Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit.
▶ TV/radio: Bally Sports Detroit+/950 WWJ-AM.
▶ Outlook: The Wings host Chicago in the second of eight preseason games. Many of the Wings veterans are expected to get their first preseason work in this game.