DETROIT -- This offseason, the Detroit Red Wings have featured several Prospect Spotlight updates on up-and-coming skaters from the hockey hotbed of Sweden, and that trend continues this week with Detroit's 51st overall pick in 2020, Theodor Niederbach.
Niederbach, who was the Red Wings' third consecutive Swedish draft pick in 2020 after Lucas Raymond (fourth overall) and William Wallinder (32nd overall), had a busy 2020-21 campaign, suiting up for four different teams, including Frolunda HC J20, Frolunda HC, MODO and for Team Sweden in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The 5-foot-11, 172-pound center saw the most success this past season for Frolunda's U20 club, earning 35 points on 13 goals and 22 assists in just 19 games. When the U20 season was canceled in November, Niederbach moved up to Frolunda's Swedish Hockey League club for 20 games, where he was one of seven SHL players to record five-plus points in their age-18 season.
At the end of December, Niederbach took a break from league play to represent his country in the World Junior Championship in Canada, where he netted two goals in five contests.
Niederbach was then loaned to MODO of the Allsvenskan league where he scored nine points (3-6-9) in 15 games before re-joining Frolunda for a seven-game playoff run before being eliminated from the SHL playoffs by Moritz Seider's Rogle BK club.
Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman said he likes the many facets that Niederbach brings to the game.
"Niederbach is a smart centerman from Sweden. Right-handed shot, very talented, very skilled," Yzerman said after the 2020 NHL Entry Draft in October. "He missed some hockey with an injury the previous year, so like most of the kids, he's going to take some time to mature and physically evolve. We're excited about his potential."
Niederbach knows the type of forward that Yzerman is looking for, and the 19-year-old prospect wants to be the 200-foot player that the Red Wings can rely on in all phases of the game.
"My type of style is I'm a skilled center who can read a game really well," Niederbach said on draft night. "Of course I have some things I can improve, but I want to be a complete center who you can trust in all situations. If you want to play center, you have to play in the D zone and be good there."
Although Niederbach couldn't travel to Michigan after being drafted for the canceled 2020 Development Camp because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he'll get his first metro Detroit experience later this month as he competes for Team Sweden in the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.
Niederbach is under contract with Frolunda through next season, but the center is excited at the potential to follow in the footsteps of many of his countrymen as a Swedish member of the Red Wings.
"I was really happy to be drafted by the Red Wings," he said. "The injury doesn't bother me now. I feel really good now, much stronger, so hopefully I can do even better (moving forward)."