Red Wings Report: Niklas Kronwall looking for a big year

By Zoran Manojlovic

The humble 21 year old Niklas Kronwall is getting ready for a big year in the Swedish Eliteleague. After haveing two solid seasons he feels that he is ready to take his game to the next level.

– I think that I started my senior career very well, I was devaloping at a quick pace and I was named to the senior National team early, maybe a bit to early, says Kronwall. After that I have had some injuryes and I think that I have slowed down in my devalopment.

Even his coach, Niklas Wikegård feels that Kronwall is ready for a breakout year.

– I belive a lot in Niklas. Although being only 21 years old he is allready making his fourth year in the Swedish Eliteleague. He has tons of talent and I would be very surprised if Kronwall doasn`t have a breakthrough year this season, says Wikegård.

Last season was a big step in the right direction. Kronwall didn`t have any serious injuryes and played in 48 of the 50 regular season games where he scored career high 5 goals and 12 points while pilling up 34 penalty minutes. He played also in all playoff games without registering any points.

During the offseason Kronwall has been adding some well needed muscle and now weights 184 Ibs. But he feels that he will have to put on some more weight if he is going to devalop his game and get a call from the National Team coach, Hardy Nilsson.

– First of all I will do my best and try to get as much ice-time as possible, says Kronwall. If I do that than I belive that I have a a good chance of playing with the National team, and who knows maybe I can be part of the World Championship team.

This season is not only important for Niklas Kronwall, his team Djurgården are hopeing that they can bounce back after a poor season and win the desirable championship.

– I think that we have a great group of players with potential, says Kronwall. The goal is of course to be among the top teams and fight for the championship. The two championships in 1999 and 2000 was a great feeling and my best hockey memory so far, says Kronwall.

But the big goal is of course to one day get the opportunity to wear the red and white jersey in Motown. He was in Detroit during last seasons playoffs together with the best prospect in Wings organisation, Henrik Zetterberg.

– It is a big dream to one day get the chance to play in the NHL, says Kronwall. I think that I will be ready to challange for an NHL spot in two years, but it all depends on how good I will devalop this year. I need to put on some more muscle and become more consistant before the trip.

But Kronwall will not give up his security in Sweden if he isn`t sure that he can secure a roster spot in the NHL.

– If I`em not sure that I will be a part of the NHL team, than I feel that it`s better for me to stay here in Sweden and devalop for another year instead of moving over to the AHL, says Kronwall.

Updated Scouting profile

Kronwall is a small-sized defenseman with exeptional offensive skills. He is very
smart and possesses great hockey sense which compensates for his small frame. He is a great skater with good leteral movement and phenomenal speed. He carries the puck with confidence and is very offensive minded. His offensive arsenal includes a great point-shot which is hard and accurate. He can log on tons of minutes and is used in all situations. He playes with a lot of heart and is agressive in the corners. He needs to work on his positioning as he sometimes looks lost in the defensive zone. He will also need to work on his consistancy in order to become more effective.

Future

If Kronwall can land a big year in Sweden and showcase his skills with the National team than I belive that he can be ready for the NHL allready for the 2003-04. He knows what he will have to work on in order to make the jump and he sure has the will to do so.

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