Red Wings’ Simon Edvinsson comfortable, confident in NHL debut

Detroit News

Detroit — Simon Edvinsson didn’t feel out of place, and the rookie defenseman didn’t look out of place in an NHL game.

During an afternoon the Red Wings didn’t have much to celebrate, Edvinsson’s first NHL game, in the Wings’ 5-1 loss Saturday to Colorado, was a notable bright spot.

Edvinsson played 15 minutes 34 seconds on 21 shifts, and was credited with one shot, one hit and one penalty while going minus-one in the plus-minus category.

Paired with fellow Swede Robert Hagg, Edvinsson showed his skating ability, and combine that with Edvinsson’s 6-foot-6 frame, Edvinsson largely looked like he belonged in a Wings’ jersey.

“I was nervous at the beginning,” said Edvinsson, whose nerves settled down quickly. “Awesome to go out there and play the game. (But) it was good. I felt comfortable. There were small things that you could do in the (Wings’) system to go (more) smoothly but it felt better, especially in the third (period).”

More:BOX SCORE: Avalanche 5, Red Wings 1

Being recalled Friday, Edvinsson’s family in Sweden didn’t get much advance time and didn’t fly in for the game. But that didn’t dampen his excitement, and the Wings were equally thrilled to see their 2021 first-round (sixth overall) draft pick make his NHL debut.

“He was good,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “I’d have to look back closer, he was on the ice on a rush against goal and I want to see how he handled it, but for the most part, you didn’t see the egregious turnover and he was physical. He had some (offensive) chances. For the first game, against a team like that, he did real well.

“It gets me excited and optimistic, if you will, going forward.”

Edvinsson, at 20 years and 41 days, became the youngest Wings defenseman to make his NHL debut since Jiri Fischer (19 years, 74 days) on Oct. 13, 1999 against St. Louis.

And it appears Edvinsson will continue to stay with the Wings on an emergency recall as Ben Chiarot and Gustav Lindstrom will not be available in the short-term.

“He played real well,” captain Dylan Larkin said. “You see his size and skating ability. If we are going to take a step as a team, himself and a lot of younger players are getting a big opportunity in the last 14 games and we’re going to need all of us to continue to develop and get better.”

Notch higher

Playing in front of an enthusiastic Little Caesars Arena matinee crowd, you’d expect the Wings to have been emotionally charged.

But Larkin felt there was still a level the Wings could have reached, and needed, especially against the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche.

“Not to the level we have to bring to play against teams like that, and beat teams, which we have done on home ice,” Larkin said. “They’ve been fun, entertaining games and that’ what we want. We don’t want to go out there and lose like that, at home.”

The Wings have only won two of their last 11 games, but Lalonde hasn’t noticed any slippage in compete level. But it is a concern going into the final four weeks of the season.

“When you are doing some quality things and not getting results, it can be deflating,” Lalonde said. “Sometimes the reality of where we are down the stretch, against a lineup like that (Colorado’s Saturday), it’ll be our job and as a group, not to let up.”

Ice chips

Larkin’s assist on Pius Suter’s goal was Larkin’s 40th assist this season, reaching the 40-assist mark for the third time in his NHL career, but first since 2018-19. Larkin has six points (two goals, four assists) in his last five games and 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in his last 30 games.

…This was the Wings’ first home loss against the Central Division this season (5-1-0). The Wings are an impressive 14-8-6 against the Western Conference.

…The Wings controlled the faceoff circle, winning 46-of-73 (63 percent) draws. Andrew Copp went 14-for-19 (73.7 precent) on the draw, while Larkin ended the day 15-for-22 (68.2 percent).

Twitter: @tkulfan

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