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Smallish Swede has sweet scoring skill

Wings took Jonatan Berggren with their second-round pick, 33rd overall, in 2018 draft

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- For the most part, Swedish hockey players are known for their skill and their humble natures.

Jonatan Berggren, the player the Detroit Red Wings took in the second round, 33rd overall, in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, fits the mold - to a point.

When Berggren was asked if he had known any of the Swedish players at development camp before arriving in Detroit, he mentioned that he had played with goaltender Jesper Eliasson on the under-18 World Cup team in Russia.

Berggren was then asked if he had ever scored on Eliasson.

"Many times," Berggren said with a slight smirk.

Berggren carries the swagger of an elite scorer, which is exactly what he is.

"He's a young kid, he led the Swedish Junior league in scoring this year," Detroit's director of European scouting Hakan Andersson said at the draft in Dallas. "He's on the team that's going to play in Kamloops (World Junior Summer Showcase), World Junior teams, the first tournament before the big one. We're happy.

"A couple of teams came up and said they were planning to take him right after us. Montreal was one of them."

Tweet from @Dwakiji: #RedWings Jonatan Berggren, their first second-round pick, 33rd overall, in last weekend���s draft. pic.twitter.com/s5zlfXSlgU

Playing for Skelleftea AIK J20 in Sweden's SuperElit League, Berggren had 18 goals and 39 assists in 38 games.

"I'm a skilled forward who has much speed and likes to make plays, play in the offensive zone," Berggren said, describing his assets.

In the highly competitive Hlinka Memorial tournament last season, Berggren had three goals and two assists in five games, tied for second on the team, helping Sweden win a bronze medal.

On that under-18 World Cup team, Berggren led the way offensively for Team Sweden with five goals and five assists.

His 10 points were two shy of overall leader Jack Hughes of the United States. Hughes had five goals and seven assists.

The Red Line Report made note of Berggren's accomplishments in that tournament, saying, "Was Sweden's best and most dangerous forward at the World U-18 Championships, easily leading the team with 10 points. Ultra quick feet and always keeps them moving. Plenty of slick moves, dangerous off the rush and has an inside-out move that makes defenders look silly. Very good lateral agility and makes all of his moves at top speed. Likes to drive wide with speed and then cut in quickly. Has a hard snap shot that he gets off quickly and locates really well. Likes to play in traffic and finishes checks. Smallish but plays feisty and is quite stocky, with a low centre of gravity that makes him hard to hit cleanly. Slick in the corners with head feints that create separation. Excellent at breaking up plays and making quick-strike counterattacks. Makes a lot of nice little set-up feeds. Makes a legitimate effort in the defensive end and sacrifices his body along the wall to clear the zone."

Berggren and Eliasson were on Team Sweden's Five Nations tournament team in Plymouth in February so he had visited Michigan before.

He had one goal and three assists in that tournament. Only five players had more.

Berggren, who does not turn 18 until July 16, is listed at just 5-foot-10, 181 pounds.

"I cannot be the biggest or strongest guy on the ice," Berggren said. "I must use my speed to advance."

Andersson compared him to Nashville Predators' left wing Viktor Arvidsson, who is listed at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds yet was Nashville's second leading scorer behind Filip Forsberg.

Arvidsson had 29 goals and 32 assists in 78 games this past season at age 25.

It was Arvidsson's second straight season with 61 points.

"I play with his former club Skelleftea, so I look at him and we both are smaller guys but have much speed, so yeah," Berggren said about the comparison to Arvidsson.

In Arvidsson's draft year of 2014, he had 16 goals and 24 assists in 50 games for Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League.

Of course, there is another smaller Swedish player that Berggren admires.

"Henrik Zetterberg," Berggren said. "I like him very much."

Zetterberg, 37, took a while to reach 6-feet, 197 pounds. Of course, he was famously drafted in the seventh round, 210th overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.

The only players from the 1999 draft with more points than Zetterberg were Henrik and Daniel Sedin, taken second and third overall.

Berggren is likely to remain in Sweden for a while to continue his development but he is excited to be with the Wings organization.

"It was one of my favorite clubs when I was little," Berggren said. "They have big Swedish stars."

Berggren had one assist for Team Lindsay in their 7-6 overtime loss to Team Howe in the development camp scrimmage, springing Taro Hirose for a breakaway goal.

Although Berggren's team did not win, he was pleased with his first development camp.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: That���s all for me today! Thanks for all the questions. Hope to see you down at @LCArena_Detroit tomorrow for the final day of #DRWDC! #LGRW pic.twitter.com/LuvD235XYv

"It's been nice," Berggren said. "It's a big dream to be here so it's really fun."

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