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Red Wings always a good bet to draft some Swedes

Detroit selects two defensemen and two forwards from Sweden on second day

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

VANCOUVER -- It would not be a true Red Wings draft without some Swedes in the mix.

The Wings started by selecting defenseman Albert Johansson, a 6-foot, 168-pound player from Farjestad, with their third pick of the second round, 60th overall.

Tweet from @eliteprospects: We have the @DetroitRedWings getting another d-man at nr 60, Albert Johansson.

"I'm very excited about his talent," said Hakan Andersson, Detroit's director of European scouting. "There 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 he dominated in junior in Sweden. Just dominated. He was voted the best defenseman in the junior playoffs in Sweden. Talented guy without the size."

For Farjestad BK J20 in the SuperElit, Johansson had five goals and 24 assists in 40 games.

After selecting Johansson, the Red Wings took forward Albin Grewe with their third-round pick, 66th overall.

"Albin Grewe is a very outstanding competitor," Andersson said. "I can see how he pictures himself after Brad Marchand. He's very competitive. I don't know all the North American guys. Out of the Europeans, probably the most competitive player in the whole draft. And in many years I would say."

Andersson relayed one telling story about Grewe.

"The senior coach in Djurgarden, they are a top team in the senior league, one of the better ones," Andersson said. "He said, 'I didn't realize it until I started to look around but every time this kid came up and practiced with the men's team, the whole intensity of the practice, the physical part of the practice, would go up. At first, he didn't know why. Then he realized every time this kid came up, he just brought the whole pace up.'"

Tweet from @coreypronman: DET pick Albin Grewe

Grewe is 6-feet, 187 pounds and shoots left, but it is his agitating presence which might excite fans.

Dobber Hockey compared him to Patric Hornqvist, saying: "A pain-in-the-butt type of power forward, Grewe plays with a lot of speed and loves to hit and disturb wherever he ventures. He's not big at 6-0, 176 but he knows how to make his presence felt. Moreover, he showed excellent production in the SuperElit thanks to his 13 goals and 34 points in 25 games. Grewe was expected to play a big role for Sweden at the U18 Worlds but managed to score only two goals in seven games. NHL-certainty is high and he could develop into an excellent multi-category player but it remains to be seen how his offense will translate to pro."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Welcome to #Hockeytown, Albin! #DRWDraft | #LGRW

In 25 games with Djurgardens IF J20 in the SuperElit, Grewe had 13 goals and 21 assists. Grewe also played 15 games for Djurgardens SHL but did not register a point.

The Red Wings already had a sixth-round pick at No. 159 and added No. 177 by sending their second fifth-rounder, No. 143, to Buffalo.

The Wings took Swedes with both of their sixth-round picks -- forward Elmer Soderblom with the first and defenseman Gustav Berglund with the second.

Soderblom is sure to stand out at development camp as he is 6-foot-7, 220 pounds.

Tweet from @coreypronman: DET picks Elmer Soderblom

"He's huge. Huge," Andersson said. "And at the same time, he's a good skater and he's got good hands. He's actually suffering from being 6-foot-6 at the age of 17. Very few guys are fully coordinated at that time. He was actually pretty good for Sweden in the Edmonton (under-18) tournament. He's got very good skill for a big man and the skating is good, so I'm hopeful with time and good training, obviously, I think he has a chance to be a forward who can do good things with the puck."

Playing for Frölunda HC J20 in the SuperElit, Soderblom had nine goals and eight assists in 44 games. He had one goal in seven games for Team Sweden in the World Junior Championship.

While not as big as Soderblom, Berglund is not small at 6-foot-2, 194 pounds.

"Gustav Berglund also is very talented," Andersson said. "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 Frolunda 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 Frolunda, 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. He's a talented guy with good size."

Berglund also played nine games for Frölunda JC J20 in SuperElit.

The right-shot defenseman had seven goals and four assists in 13 games for Frölunda HC J18 in J18 Allsvenskan. The seven goals were the most by a defenseman.

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