Hampus Melen’s season is over and it’s not clear when he’ll be able to return to the ice — but the Detroit Red Wings remain intrigued by his upside.
According to Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson, the seventh-round draft choice has been diagnosed with an acute respiratory disease that causes extreme fatigue and impairs breathing. Melen is currently receiving treatment for the issue and Andersson optimistically hopes he will be healthy and able to resume training in the spring with a goal of getting back on the ice for the start of the 2014-15 season.
The 18-year-old center had four assists in his first two games with Tingsryds of Sweden’s J-20 SuperElit league before the illness started to affect him. He battled through fatigue to appear in nine more contests before heading to hospital for a battery of tests.
“He’d get exhausted, completely worn out in practice, go to the bench, and couldn’t figure out what it was,” Andersson said. “He’d rest, come back and then it would hit him harder. The good thing is he’s been diagnosed with the proper thing and they’re working on it. He’ll be working with the No. 1 expert (on the illness) in Sweden (later this month).”
Melen, who had five assists, 17 shots and a minus-6 in 11 games, played at Sweden’s second J-20 level last season, recording 18 goals and 22 assists for 40 points in 24 games. Although he was a little too good for the low-level league, Andersson liked his offensive potential and snagged Melen with the 199th pick in June’s draft.
Andersson said Melen stands 6-foot-3 but is extremely weak at just 165 pounds. He said there’s plenty of raw talent to work with if Melen can get healthy.
“That first weekend, I talked to one of the coaches, and he said, ‘Boy, was your guy ever on fire. He had three assists and we could hardly stop him,’” Andersson said.
Andersson said Melen’s offensive tools rank with the best his age in Sweden.
“Hockey sense and skill-wise, he could have played for the Swedish world junior team,” Andersson said. “His strength isn’t there, but hockey sense and skill is right up there. I’m not exaggerating. Those are his main attributes. It doesn’t hurt that he’s 6-foot-3. He can make plays and beat you 1-on-1, so that’s exciting, but there’s a long way to go.”
The Red Wings retain Melen’s signing rights through 2016-17 under the IIHF transfer agreement, so that’s a blessing given the major setback.
Another Red Wings seventh-rounder, Rasmus Bodin, is sidelined with chronic back and hip problems. He has just two assists, five shots and a minus-3 rating in 14 games with Linkoping of the J-20 SuperElit level. The 6-foot-6, 207-pounder, taken 200th overall in 2012, has appeared in just 38 games, recording no goals, since being drafted.
“The last game I saw him, he looked like a slower skater than when I drafted him,” Andersson said. “I can’t see us signing him. There’s no progress.
“It’s a seventh-rounder that didn’t go well.”
NOTES: Center Riley Sheahan is working hard toward earning a piece of the pie in Detroit. On recall with the Red Wings, Sheahan has a goal and three assists and a plus-4 rating in six games while averaging 11:54 of ice time. He also has 18 points in 28 games in the AHL with Grand Rapids and is well on his way to a full-time job in 2014-15 … Left-winger Marek Tvrdon is returning to the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets after being traded from the Vancouver Giants. Tvrdon was struggling in the ECHL with Toledo, recording nine goals and four assists in 22 games … More points for left-winger Andreas Athanasiou (Barrie, OHL), as a four-point contest on Saturday gives him 54 points in 39 games, and more slumping for right-winger Zach Nastasiuk (Owen Sound, OHL), who has just two assists in 10 games … Winger Tyler Bertuzzi (Guelph, OHL) remains out with a head/neck injury. He hasn’t played since Dec. 8 … Goalie Jake Paterson (Saginaw, OHL) returned from a disappointing world junior championship and pitched a 30-save shutout on Jan. 11. “That’s the Jake Paterson I know, and that’s the way Jake Paterson can play,” Spirit head coach Greg Gilbert told the Saginaw News … Defenseman Alexey Marchenko (Grand Rapids, AHL) was named an AHL all-star this week. He was the lone Griffins player selected and will face off against Farjestad of the Swedish Hockey League in a two-game series on Feb. 11 and 12 in St. John’s, N.L.
Sarah Lindenau contributed to this report.
SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT
|Almquist, Adam||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||35||0||20||20||28||-1||59|
|Callahan, Mitchell||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||38||15||6||21||37||+14||98|
|Jurco, Tomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||32||13||19||32||14||+10||91|
|Marchenko, Alexey||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||33||2||14||16||6||+15||24|
|Sheahan, Riley||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||28||8||10||18||10||+1||49|
|Sproul, Ryan||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||38||7||14||21||18||+15||88|
|Glendening, Luke||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||18||5||7||12||18||+8||26|
|Jarnkrok, Calle||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||38||10||7||17||12||+14||65|
|Pulkkinen, Teemu||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||38||13||17||30||20||+17||98|
|Frk, Martin||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||16||0||0||0||10||-7||15|
|Jensen, Nick||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||13||0||0||0||2||+1||4|
|Tvrdon, Marek||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||1||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|Ferraro, Landon||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||35||7||11||18||29||+5||94|
|Aubry, Louis-Marc||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||4||0||0||0||5||-1||6|
|Fournier, Gleason||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||10||0||0||0||0||+3||6|
|Parkes, Trevor||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||6||0||0||0||4||-2||10|
|Nestrasil, Andrej||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||32||4||7||11||12||+1||29|
|Ouellet, Xavier||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||36||2||8||10||12||+10||45|
|Nedomlel, Richard||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||3||0||0||0||2||-2||1|
|Nastasiuk, Zach||Owen Sound||OHL||CHL||42||13||19||32||18||-9||–|
|McNulty, Marc||Prince George||WHL||CHL||41||8||16||24||69||-1||–|
|De Haas, James||Clarkson||ECAC||NCAA||20||2||4||6||12||-1||26|
|McKee, Mike||W. Michigan||BIG-10||NCAA||11||0||0||0||46||0||1|
|Pope, David||W. Kelowna||USHL/JR-A||JR-A||26||14||9||23||10||–||–|
GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT
|Coreau, Jared||Grand Rapids||AHL||3||0||2||0||0||4.01||.860|
|Mrazek, Petr||Grand Rapids||AHL||13||10||2||1||1||2.09||.927|
|McCollum, Thomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||26||15||7||1||1||2.21||.923|