Joakim Andersson has suddenly added an offensive dimension to the rock-solid defensive game the Detroit Red Wings were already extremely excited about.
The second-year American Hockey League forward has enjoyed a six-goal outburst over his past eight games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, just one goal shy of his 79-game rookie total. He also has an assist in that stretch and has 14 points through 22 games overall.
It’s a big step toward Andersson becoming a complete player.
“You can’t say enough good things about what this kid does for this hockey team,” Griffins head coach Curt Fraser told the Grand Rapids Press last week. “He plays against all the other teams’ best lines every night, he produces offense, he’s our best defensive player, penalty killer … He’s just a real solid player for us and it’s nice to see him get rewarded for that hard work.”
The Red Wings selected Andersson in the third round (88th overall) in 2007 and have been patient with his development. He spent one season in the Swedish Allsvenskan and two seasons in the Swedish Elite League before signing a three-year contract and coming to North America, but this is by far the best offensive stretch he has enjoyed — at any level — since being drafted.
The 22-year-old former Swedish world junior captain has been compared to Samuel Pahlsson. The biggest knock against him, his skating, has improved to the point where Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said in September 2010 that Andersson would “play in the league” because “he’s big, he’s heavy, and he knows how to play with and without the puck.”
If Andersson continues his strong play, he could push for a call-up later in the season and could challenge for a full-time job in Detroit as early as next season. He could be a good fourth-liner right away with room to develop into a quality third-liner in the future.
NOTES: Forward Philippe Hudon (Victoriaville, QMJHL) has abandoned his plan to play college hockey at Cornell and will play in the QMJHL. He had an assist in his first two games for high-powered Victoriaville last week … Defenseman Richard Nedomlel (Swift Current, WHL) has returned back to earth after a hot start. He has just a goal and an assist in his past 18 games, a stark contrast to the 12 points he had in his first 13 games … Defenseman Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste-Marie, OHL) is tied for 11th in the league with a team-best plus-16 rating … Forward Louis-Marc Aubry (Grand Rapids, AHL) had a three-point game last week with a goal and two assists against Toronto.
Following is this week’s statistical report.
SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT
|Coetzee, Willie||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||21||5||4||9||5||-3||54|
|Ferraro, Landon||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||16||4||4||8||17||-1||20|
|Nyquist, Gustav||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||22||7||17||24||6||+2||62|
|Tatar, Tomas||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||22||5||11||16||13||+1||72|
|Andersson, Joakim||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||22||6||8||14||16||+1||49|
|Aubry, Louis-Marc||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||16||3||2||5||8||-3||30|
|Callahan, Mitchell||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||13||1||0||1||48||-2||14|
|Ehrhardt, Travis||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||3||0||0||0||9||-1||5|
|Lashoff, Brian||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||22||2||2||4||11||-8||25|
|Pare, Francis||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||22||3||8||11||4||-3||53|
|Parkes, Trevor||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||14||0||1||1||0||0||22|
|Raedeke, Brent||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||19||2||2||4||12||-3||19|
|Smith, Brendan||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||16||2||8||10||28||+2||34|
|Piche, Sebastien||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||10||0||2||2||7||-3||10|
|Pyett, Logan||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||22||0||11||11||12||+5||56|
|Nestrasil, Andrej||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||11||2||1||3||2||-1||17|
|Fournier, Gleason||Grand Rapids||PRO||AHL||3||1||1||2||2||0||1|
|Nedomlel, Richard||Swift Current||JR||WHL||31||3||11||14||41||-16||N/A|
|Sproul, Ryan||Sault Ste. Marie||JR||OHL||30||8||14||22||31||+16||N/A|
|Jurco, Tomas||Saint John||JR||QMJHL||27||19||20||39||21||+25||110|
|Jensen, Nick||St. Cloud State||COL||NCAA||18||1||10||11||2||+3||27|
|Nicastro, Max||Boston U.||COL||NCAA||13||1||3||4||14||+1||17|
|Sheahan, Riley||Notre Dame||COL||NCAA||16||5||12||17||12||+2||54|
|Marchenko, Alexei||CSKA Moscow||EUR||KHL||4||0||0||0||2||-3||2|
GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT
|Pearce, Jordan||Grand Rapids||AHL||9||1||5||0||1||3.81||.867|
|McCollum, Thomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||7||4||3||0||0||3.17||.896|