Detroit Red Wings Draft Axel Sandin Pellikka 17th Overall

The Hockey Writers

With the 17th pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings have selected Axel Sandin Pellikka from Skellefteå AIK J20 of the J20 Nationell

About Axel Sandin Pellikka

One of the best puck-moving defencemen available in this year’s draft, Axel Sandin Pellikka has first-unit power-play quarterback written all over him. He can carry the puck into the offensive zone with ease and, once there, is able to generate high-danger scoring chances with his strong playmaking skills and shot placement. A talented defender, he continually showed throughout the season why he was considered a top prospect.

Related: 2023 NHL Draft: Live Tracker

After posting 36 points in 31 regular-season games, Sandin Pellikka was named the J20 Nationall’s Best Defencemen of the Year. He followed his strong season up by helping Sweden win silver at the U18s, where he was also named the tournament’s Best Defencemen. A defender who has the ability to swing momentum in favour of his own team, he is a threat every time the puck is on his stick.

THW Prospect Profile Excerpt

“Axel Sandin Pellikka is one of the most offensively gifted defenders in the 2023 Draft. He has a high offensive IQ to go along with slick puck-moving abilities. The way he can patrol the offensive blue line is unmatched amongst this year’s crop of defencemen.

Axel Sandin Pellikka Team Sweden
Axel Sandin Pellikka, Team Sweden (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

“Sandin Pellikka is a first-round talent who made his presence felt in the J20 Nationell Swedish Junior League this past season with 36 points in 31 games. He dressed against Swedish Hockey League (SHL) competition this year as well. In 22 games he had two goals and three assists. He is presently playing for Team Sweden at the 2023 World U18 Championship.

Related: THW’s 2023 NHL Draft Guide


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“The biggest knock against Sandin Pellikka is his size and lack of strength. He isn’t weak, but will need to compensate for his lack of monstrous size and aggression with good edge work and weaving his way out of trouble. He could get stronger, and should naturally do so as he ages. Regardless of what he lacks, he makes up for it with his smart passes, mobility, and puck-carrying prowess.”

Full player profile can be found here.

How This Affects the Red Wings’ Plan

After taking Nate Danielson ninth overall, the Red Wings add to their defensive group by selecting Sandin Pellikka. He joins a deep group of defenders that include Simon Edvinsson, William Wallinder and, of course, Moritz Seider. Detroit has a long history of success with drafting and developing Swedish defencemen, so do not be surprised if he turns into another stud on their blue line.

2023 NHL Entry Draft Guide Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli Banner

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