Red Wings Defensive Prospects to Watch in 2023-24

The Hockey Writers

Over the past two decades, the Detroit Red Wings have had a top-end defenseman to hold down the back end. Whether it be Nick Lidstrom from 1991-2012 or the present day with the up-and-coming Moritz Seider, they have had that lockdown defenseman. Over the past few drafts, the Wings have added prospects to the organization that they hope can eventually play “Robin” to Seider’s “Batman” role.

Defensemen Prospects to Look Out For

Axel Sandin Pellikka (2023, 17th overall)

It seems like Detroit went back to the well when they selected Axel Sandin Pellikka in the first round of this year’s draft. He is known as an offensive defenseman with the potential to be a power play quarterback as well. He was ranked the seventh-best European skater, and second-ranked European defenseman in the 2023 Draft pool, according to NHL Central Scouting. This past season he was able to put up 16 goals, and 20 assists for 36 points in 31 games played with Skelleftea AIK J20 of the J20 Nationell in Sweden, along with showing some edge to his game, recording 64 penalty minutes. He also dressed in 22 games for the Skelleftea AIK team in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and put up a total of two goals, and three assists for five points. But where he stood out the most was in the international games he played for Team Sweden, recording five goals, and 16 assists for 21 points in a total of 19 games of international play.

Related: Detroit Red Wings Top 25 Prospects: Post-2023 Draft


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For the 2023-24 season, Sandin Pellikka will be returning to Skelleftea AIK. If his development continues on the trajectory that the Red Wings organization is hoping for, he could possibly be making his way to North America in the not-so-distant future and could be yet another building block on the back end for the team.

William Wallinder (2020, 32nd overall)

A big-bodied defenseman that the Red Wings were able to snag in the second round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, William Wallinder is a sound skater and is viewed as another offensive defenseman. At 6-foot-4, he needs to fill into his frame a little bit more, as he weighs 190 pounds. During the 2022-23 season, he put up seven goals, 19 assists, and 26 total points for Rogle BK of the SHL and then made the jump over to Grand Rapids and appeared in one game at the end of the Griffins season. He is expected back in Grand Rapids this season and could prove to be a major asset for the team and the organization if he can add some weight and continue to develop and adjust to the North American style of hockey.

Simon Edvinsson (2021, 6th overall)

Widely looked at as the Red Wings’ top prospect, Simon Edvinsson has the potential and talent to be a top-pairing defenseman. He made his NHL debut this past season with the Wings, appearing in nine total games, with two goals before being sent down to Grand Rapids for the remainder of the season. In Grand Rapids, he tallied five goals, and 22 assists for 27 points while dressing for 52 games.

Simon Edvinsson Detroit Red Wings
Simon Edvinsson, Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Edvinsson is likely to at least start the 2023-24 season in Grand Rapids, as Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has made it clear that none of the young players in the organization will be rushed into an NHL role. If he can continue his development and growth this season, he could very well be pushing for a spot on the back end of the Red Wings this season when injuries pop up, or at worst he will be pushing for a spot come training camp next season.

Overall, the Red Wings have a top-heavy tier of defensive prospects that could very easily make their way into the lineup in the next season or two and make a major impact for years to come.



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