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Former prospect is in a different world

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Dick Axelsson was a Red Wings' second-round draft pick in 2006. He later played 17 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins before returning home to Sweden. (Photo by Getty Images)

While several Red Wings performed very well at last month’s World Championship in Sweden and Finland, there is one former prospect that’s still lighting it up on the international stage.

Dick Axelsson, who was a Wings’ second-round draft pick in 2006, is making quite the name for himself on the inline circuit. The 25-year-old forward has four goals and five assists in three games for Sweden in the IIHF Inline World Championship currently going on in Munich, Germany.

In a draft class with Cory Emmerton, Jan Mursak and Shawn Matthias, who was later traded to Florida in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi, there were high hopes for the slick-skating Axelsson.

The Wings signed Axelsson to a three-year, entry-level contract in 2008, and a year later assigned him to the club’s American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids. Once there, Axelsson played 17 games before deciding in December that he wanted to return to Sweden and his former team Färjestad BK.

The Red Wings still own Axelsson’s NHL rights for at least another year thought it’s highly unlikely that he’ll ever play in Detroit.

In 2008, Axelsson was a dominant force at the world inline tourney, registering 16 points en route to winning the gold medal and tournament MVP. The following year, he continued his dominance on the rink while helping Sweden capture its third consecutive world inline title.

The Inline World Championship has been played since 1996 when Canada defeated Finland in the first title game in St. Paul, Minnesota.

It should also be noted that in 2008, Edmonton Oilers forward Ales Hemsky played defense for the Czech Republic team and led the tournament in defensive scoring with 11 points in five games.

Axelsson finished his fifth season in the Swedish Elite League, producing nine goals and 11 assists for Modo, a club that he has already left. It’s expected that return to Färjestad next season where he helped them to SEL playoff championships in 2009 and 2011.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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