Detroit Red Wings: Jonatan Berggren a waiver-exempt casualty?

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I can only expect this notion won’t go over well with many fans, but it looks as though Jonatan Berggren may find himself as a waiver-exempt casualty in 2023-24.

The Detroit Red Wings have a plethora of forwards set to make the opening night roster. With the team expected to carry three goaltenders to begin the year, a player like Berggren, who doesn’t need to be placed on waivers to be assigned to Grand Rapids, may, unfortunately, find himself skating with the Griffins for at least part of this upcoming season.

Berggren, 23, seemed like a sure bet to make the Detroit Red Wings roster this season following a very productive rookie campaign. Like any young player, Berggren suffered his fair share of ups and downs but still managed to score 15 goals and a total of 28 points in 67 contests while averaging just over 13 minutes per game.

Detroit Red Wings forward Jonatan Berggren may find himself on the outside looking in this upcoming season.

Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings enjoyed a very active summer, adding plenty of proven NHL-ready depth players to bolster their lineup, leaving a player like Berggren, who can be sent down without waivers, leaving his immediate future with the team in question. Of course, Yzerman also pulled off a blockbuster trade to land top-line scorer Alex DeBrincat. In addition to DeBrincat, the Red Wings added forwards J.T. Compher, Klim Kostin, Christian Fischer, and Daniel Sprong. Each of these players brings an extra element to Detroit’s lineup, whether it is additional physicality, a role as a reliable checker, penalty killing, or depth on the power-play in addition to playing as potentially a bottom-six forward.

Take Fischer, for example. Some people will undoubtedly hope Berggren edges out a player like Fischer, but the veteran winger is a proven penalty killer; he’s 6-foot-2, 215-ish pounds, scored 14 goals, and totaled 27 points playing under 15 minutes last season with Arizona. Berggren performed well last season but doesn’t kill penalties and has no physical element to his game; both things are beneficial to a bottom-six player. I am not saying he won’t grow into a top-six forward; his game has plenty of offensive potential, but as it stands now, Detroit doesn’t have a spot within their top-six for Berggren.

Recently, Berggren talked about wanting to be more selfish on offense this season.

“Last year, I was trying to pass more than shoot,” Berggren said Monday. “This summer, I worked on my shot. I feel like this season, I want to be more of a threat. Maybe a little bit selfish in some areas and shoot more.”

“It felt like I had a great start,” Berggren said. “Then after a while, I felt a little dip in the middle of the season. But overall, I had an okay season. I created more chances than I scored. If I have a little bit more edge on it, I can be a real offensive player in this league.”

The Detroit Red Wings will hope for more consistent offensive production out of Berggren if he does make the opening night roster. Last season, Berggren went through a period where he scored just once over an 11-game span. Then again, down the final stretch of the regular season, he recorded just three goals over the last 20 games when head coach Derek Lalonde leaned on the young forward more following the trade deadline.

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Another player that may find himself on the roster bubble is Joe Veleno. Veleno hasn’t seemed to put it all together yet and should be sensing some pressure from the likes of Nate Danielson, in particular, who has enjoyed a spectacular training camp and preseason to date.

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