Three of the Detroit Red Wings will affect Sweden’s fortunes at next week’s World Junior Championships in Edmonton.
The tournament will be a warm-up for Simon Edvinsson before training camp, as the sixth overall pick in 2021 will compete for a place in the Red Wings’ Blue Line.
Defensesman William Wallender and striker Theodor Niederbach, two-round picks in 2020 (32 and 51), will return to Sweden for another season of development with Rogle BK.
The event has been rescheduled from December, when it was canceled four days after it began due to COVID-19. Sweden, which is chasing its first gold medal since 2012, opens on Wednesday against Switzerland.
“When I was a little kid, I always wanted to play in the Junior World Championships,” said Edvinson, 19. “I’ve only played a couple of games. That hunger goes a little bit more. I think this is a good run-up period to get ready for training camp.”
The Red Wings will give Edvinson, a great defensive player and left-footed moving (6-6, 205), an excellent opportunity to get the team into camp and prep for the season after he thrived at Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League. The competition will be following the signings of Ben Shearoot, Ole Mata, Mark Pesek and Robert Haag, who are joined by Moritz Seder, Philip Hronick, Jake Wollman, Jordan Austrell and Gustav Lindstrom. Pysyk (Hock surgery) is out for half the season and Walman (shoulder surgery) will not be available initially.
Wallender, 20, was not picked up by Sweden in December, but a strong second half during his first season with Rogel appears to have helped his cause.
“I’ve got my game started, my defensive game is getting to work,” Wallander said at Red Wings development camp last month. “This season I felt like everything was fine, all the defensive issues from the past and everything is fine now.”
Wallander (6-4, 190) has been a huge fan of former Detroit defender Niklas Cronwall, who works with the team’s prospects, especially the linebackers, as the assistant director of player development.
“I loved his hits,” Wallander said. “It’s great to work with him. He has a lot of experience. Just to learn from him and listen to what he has to say. … It’s all in my game, every little detail.”
When asked if he hits like Cronwall, Wallander said, “I did when I was younger but not anymore.
“I’m a great defensive guy and have great skateboarding, I love holding the puck and leading the offensive play off the blue line.”
Niederbach is also aiming to make a move this season with Rogel after his move from Froland. It’s where Seider excelled in 2020-21 and where he also plays Marco Kasper, the Red Wings’ top pick in 2022.
“Frolonda is a good club, I learned a lot from them, but I felt like I wanted to try something new,” said Niederbach. “I know Rogel is a good team. Wallinder and Seider both had a great development there. I know I will come to a great club.”
Niederbach (6-0, 190) is recruited as a right winger but his goal is to develop into an all-around strong centre.
“I try to play well in both zones, be confident in zone D but I can also do something well in zone O,” said Niederbach.
Playing in SHL helped his growth.
“You play against adult men, so it’s hard in every game,” said Niederbach. “SHL is a good league. If you can play well there, you have a good chance of doing something good here (in the National Hockey League).”
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