On Friday morning, the Detroit Red Wings announced they had recalled top defensive prospect Simon Edvinsson from Grand Rapids along with Austin Czarnik.
When Derek Lalonde revealed that Ben Chiarot would be “week-to-week” with an upper-body injury during his post-practice media availability on Thursday, it seemed likely the Red Wings would recall a defenseman from Grand Rapids with only six healthy currently.
The two likely candidates from Grand Rapids were Simon Edvinsson and Albert Johansson, the latter of whom recently missed some time due to injury.
The Red Wings’ 2021 sixth overall pick from 2021 has been one of the few bright spots this season in Grand Rapids. In his first season in North America, Edvinsson has appeared in 51 games, scoring five goals and adding 22 assists, which ranks first among Griffins’ defensemen and fourth among U21 AHL blueliners.
Heading into preseason, it seemed Edvinsson was a favorite to earn a regular spot on Detroit’s blueline after a strong season with Frolunda in the SHL. But the inconsistency in Edvinsson’s puck decisions led Red Wings management to lean towards big minutes in the AHL, where he could get used to the North American ice sheet and adapt to the physicality.
Edvinsson has excelled and has looked just as confident transitioning the puck in the AHL as he did in the SHL and even has developed a mean streak, which helps when you are 6’6 and 215 pounds.
Edvinsson is eligible for his entry-level contract to slide if he doesn’t exceed nine games in the NHL this season. An argument could be made either way if Edvinsson should finish the season with Detroit or not. Starting your NHL career against last year’s Stanley Cup champions is an excellent way to understand the speed and a measuring stick for what the 20-year-old needs to do to earn a full-time spot next season.