Red Wings European prospects 2008-09 review

By Brandon Peleshok

The Red Wings had five prospects playing in Europe during the 2008-09 season.

Dick Axelsson, LW – Farjestads BK Karlstad
Acquired: 2nd round, 62nd overall, 2006
6’2, 176 lbs.

Axelsson’s 2008-09 campaign was a roller coaster ride of sorts.

In just his second game of the season, he suffered a collarbone injury, sidelining him for several games. Additionally, Axelsson was sent to Farjestads early in the season. Djurgardens cited his poor work ethic as the reason for the move. While he possesses a great deal of offensive potential, he will have to overcome his issues if he hopes to be successful at higher levels of competition.

Amid his hectic season, Axelsson was still able to tally 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in 39 games. There is a good chance that he will make the transition to North America next season, joining the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL.

Joakim Andersson, C – Vastra Frolunda HC Goteborg/Grand Rapids Griffins
Acquired: 3rd round, 88th overall, 2007
6’2, 198 lbs.

Andersson’s most notable strengths are his defensive and physical play. He plays an aggressive, up-tempo game that allows him to fit into the grinder mold. Playing on the bottom two lines of his Frolunda team, he put up just 12 points in 66 games.

His most impressive moment of the season occurred while playing Sweden’s second line during the World Junior tournament. In six games he put up six points, while maintaining the defensive and physical aspects of his game.

Andersson is currently playing for the Griffins in their series against the Hamilton Bulldogs, a move that indicates that he will receive a contract with the Red Wings before the June 1 deadline.

Jesper Samuelsson, C – Timra IK

Acquired: 7th round, 211th overall, 2008
5’11, 178 lbs.

After an impressive season with the third-tier Hasten team in Sweden, Samuelsson fell flat in his 2008-09 season. He potted just three points in 40 games with Timra. Perhaps Samuelsson’s biggest concern lies in his inability to put on weight. If his numbers this season are any indication, then he will struggle to play against higher levels of competition. Still, the Red Wings will still wait and see if they have another late-round gem on their hands.

Johan Ryno, C – Djurgardens IF Stockholm

Acquired: 5th round, 137th overall, 2005
6’4, 215 lbs.

Ryno has taken a drastic drop down the Red Wings depth chart. After seeing success at the AHL level in 2007-08, he decided to spend the rest of the season in Sweden. He put up a disappointing nine points in 30 games with Djurgardens, going from a scoring line with Grand Rapids to a role player in Sweden. He lost his entire 2008-09 season when he broke his leg early in the year. Ryno’s choice to go back to Sweden has proven costly, to say the least.

Anton Axelsson, LW – Timra IK
Acquired: 6th round, 192nd overall, 2004
6’0, 183 lbs.

One of Detroit’s older prospects, Axelsson had hoped to built on his 20-point season last year. Instead, Axelsson regressed a bit, scoring 15 points in 52 games with Timra. While he possesses strong defensive skills, he lacks the size to play an effective physical game. With no signs of improving, Axlesson’s future as a Red Wing looks bleak.