Detroit Red Wings: Two prospects turning heads at Summer Showcase

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Detroit Red Wings first-round pick Axel Sandin Pellikka and Anton Johansson combined for a game-winning goal on Wednesday, propelling Team Sweden past Finland 3-2.

The Detroit Red Wings selected Sandin Pellikka with their second first-round selection in this past summer’s NHL Draft with the No. 17 overall pick. Sandin Pellikka, 18, drew numerous comparisons to NHLer Kris Letang for his smooth skating and ability to transport the puck from the backend, plus he’s shown plenty of offensive capabilities throughout his teen years.

This past season, Sandin Pellikka played 22 games with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League, recording two goals and five points. This followed a stupendous season with the Skelleftea AIK Jr. club, where he totaled a whopping 16 goals and 36 points over 31 games. On Wednesday, Detroit’s young defenseman displayed his offensive mastery with a nifty goal.

Two Detroit Red Wings draft picks are showing out at the Summer Showcase.

Anton Johansson, 19, is a fourth-round selection of the Detroit Red Wings from 2022. The 6-foot-4 right-handed defender assisted on Sandin Pellikka’s goal. Johansson had totaled two goals and an assist through the tournament’s first three games, enough to start garnering plenty of attention.

In a recent article by Max Bultman of The Athletic ($) Team Sweden, head coach Magnus Hävelid spoke briefly about his game.

“He’s an interesting player in many different ways,” Hävelid said. “I think he’s (had) a good tournament so far. (It will) probably be good for him to come home and play in the SHL, be more steady, that’s for those players, game by game, three games a week with tough men’s hockey, that will help him.”

Sandin Pellikka also noted that he admires Johansson’s game.

“He’s been terrific,” Sandin Pellikka said. “As soon as he has the puck in the O-zone, he’s a threat, and he’s good (on) the point and having some good point shots. I really like his game.”

Johansson appeared in 21 games this past season for Leksands IF of the Swedish Hockey League, where he recorded just one goal while maintaining a minus -3 rating. He also played 32 games last season for the Leksands IF Jr. team recording six goals and 13 points. He was also a plus-7 and accumulated 94 penalty minutes.

It’s great to see a pair of young right-handed defenders performing well. With a ton of left-handed defense prospects in the pipeline, the Detroit Red Wings needed to bolster the right side of their backend, and Steve Yzerman has made a conscious effort to do so over the past few years.

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