Over the next few seasons, the Red Wings defensive corps will go through a major overhaul.
Several of Detroit's key defensemen are north of 30 years old with expiring contracts after this year, so with the club in a retooling phase, rebuilding the blue line could be the Wings' biggest chore.
At this year's NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver, the Red Wings selected five defensemen out of their 11 total picks, including three blueliners out of their top four picks.
Detroit also had a heavy European influence in the Vancouver draft by selecting seven Europeans.
Swedish defensemen Albert Johansson, a left-handed shot and Gustav Berglund, a right-handed shooter, were two of the four blueliners the Wings selected from Europe.
In total, the Wings selected four Swedes in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Johansson, drafted in the second round, 60th overall, is a dynamic puck carrier who has a huge upside, while Berglund, a sixth-round pick, 177th overall, is bigger at 6-foot-2, 194 pounds, than the 6-foot, 168-pound Johansson, but each has demonstrated a high hockey IQ and high compete level with the ability to create offensively.
Johansson had success in international play, winning a silver medal in the Hlinka Memorial and a gold medal in the U18 World Junior Championship.
Like most prospects, the pair must get stronger and improve their overall defensive game, but at development camp in June, Johansson and Berglund showed enough to make the Wings encouraged that they made two astute picks.
40 -- Johansson played in 40 games for Färjestad BK J20 in Sweden's SuperElit league.
5 -- In those 40 games, Johansson scored five goals, 12th on the team but second among defensemen. Herman Johansson, who is not related, scored seven. Johansson also had five points (2-3-5) in the playoffs for Färjestad BK J18 in J18 Allsvenskan.
24 -- In addition to the five goals, Johansson had 24 assists, which led Färjestad BK J20. Forward Wilson Johansson, also no relation, was second with 19.
29 -- Johansson's 29 points were second on the team to Wilson Johansson's 34.
63 -- In 40 games, Johansson was assessed 63 penalty minutes, tied for second on the team with Wilson Johansson. Daniel Kyrk led with 81 penalty minutes.
4 -- Johansson played in four games for Färjestad BK J18 in Sweden's J18 Elit. In those four games, he had one goal and three assists.
7 -- In the U18 World Junior Championship, Johansson played in seven games for Team Sweden.
22 -- In all, Johansson played in 22 total games for Sweden's U18 team.
3 -- Johansson finished with three assists in those 22 international games.
Quotable: "Very, very good skater. Obviously at development camp I was really impressed with his edges, his balance, his stride, very, very smooth, he's got a great glide, it's right on top of the ice. Good offensive skills, really shifty, good puck skills, can move the puck well. But he's another guy that's just underdeveloped, he needs to put on strength. Still seems to be growing a little bit, but there's good upside there offensively." -- Shawn Horcoff, Red Wings director of player development
Quotable II: "When I was very small (my favorite player) was Nick Lidstrom because he was the biggest defenseman. Down the years it was Erik Karlsson and John Klingberg. With the Swedish defensemen, I look at the offensive game. I like that." -- Johansson
Quotable III: "I'm very excited about his talent. That was another scout that told me he thinks he might be the best of them all and I kind of agree. He's a great skater and a very good guy with the puck. But he has to fill out. His dad (Roger Johansson) played 160 games in the NHL and 500 games in the Swedish league and was on the national team. He's 6-foot-3 and he's got two older brothers that are big. If he grows it's going to help his career more but even right as a 6-foot kid, a very good hockey player. For some reason it didn't quite come out when he played on the under-18 national team but dominated in junior in Sweden. Just dominated. He was voted the best defenseman in the junior playoffs in Sweden. Talented guy without the size." -- Hakan Andersson, Red Wings director of European scouting
15 -- Berglund played in 15 games for Frölunda HC J18 in J18 Elit.
6 -- In those 15 games, Berglund had six goals, 11th on the team. Forwards Gustav Portillo and Andreas Laschitza were tied for the team lead with 14 goals, in 22 and 21 games, respectively.
12 -- Berglund also had 12 assists in those games, tied with forward William Hallén, who played 18 games.
13 -- The young defenseman also played 13 games for Frölunda HC J18 in J18 Allsvenskan.
7 -- Berglund recorded seven goals, which was second on that Allsvenskan team to Liam Svensson, who had eight goals in 18 games. It was the most goals by a defenseman in J18 Allsvenskan (South). He also played in seven playoff games for J18 Allsvenskan.
4 -- In those 13 games, Berglund also chipped in four assists. Portillo led with 11 assists in 16 games.
9 -- Berglund also played nine games last season for Frölunda HC J20 in SuperElit. He did not record a point in those games.
Quotable: "I liked him as well, 6-3, good skating defenseman, had some size, good tools. Sometimes you never know with those late picks but a lot of good offensive tools to look for. All these guys, I think our draft is actually, I was really, really happy with all of the guys that came into development camp and I'm looking forward to seeing them all and getting to know them much better once we get going in the regular season." -- Horcoff
Quotable II: "My strength is in the offensive zone, I'm a mobile and offensive guy who likes to make plays for others and shoot the puck. When I was younger I was (like) Nick Lidstrom but as I've grown up I've watched more of Erik Karlsson's highlights and focus on his offensive game and more of the defensive game of Nick Lidstrom." -- Berglund
Quotable III: "Gustav Berglund also is very talented. He's along the lines of Albert Johansson, he's bigger, I think he's close to 6-3. He's been on the Sweden under-17 team. Didn't get picked this year because he had a rough start. He moved to Frölunda and had a tough time living on his own. He didn't eat properly, he was tired, didn't train as hard. They had to straighten him out a little bit halfway through the season, but after that the coach said that he's the most improved player on Frölunda, the junior team. So they have really high hopes for him. They don't think they have anybody that talented in that organization on defense. I'm hoping within a year or so he's going to challenge for a spot on the Swedish World Junior team. That's the first step." -- Andersson