Lidstrom raves about Edvinsson, who's coming quickly for Detroit


Simon Edvinsson was signing the praises of Nicklas Lidstrom when the Red Wings drafted him sixth overall last July. Now Lidstrom is returning the favor.

Hired Tuesday as the Red Wings' VP of hockey operations, Lidstrom said he loves what he sees in the 18-year-old defenseman. He's been watching his countryman play for the better part of the last two seasons.

"I saw him play as a 17 year old," Lidstrom said. "He was a good skater. He was a long, lanky kid, but you saw the skill that he had skating the puck up the ice. He was 17 years old playing against men and he could handle himself."

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That was last season, when the 6'4 Edvinsson was loaned from Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League to Vasteras, the same club Lidstrom played for prior to coming to Detroit. He's back with Frolunda this season, where he has 12 points in 24 games for one of the top teams in the league. He turns 19 next month and continues to look like the 'next world star out of Sweden.'

"This season I’ve seen him taking strides, big strides, to become a more comfortable player playing against men," Lidstrom said. "His ice time has increased, he can skate the puck up the ice all by himself, he plays a lot harder in his own zone. So I’ve seen improvement from him in one year.

"And a lot of things happen when you’re 17 and 18 years old, a lot of things develop even more and better. But I’ve seen some big steps just from one year to another."

It's premature to say, but let's just say it: the Red Wings have the makings of one of the top defensive tandems in the NHL.

Moritz Seider has already proven he belongs, leading all rookies in assists this season while playing north of 22 minutes per night at the age of 20. He's a right-hand shot. Now imagine another 6'4, smooth-skating defenseman next to him who happens to be a left-hand shot. Imagine Seider and Edvinsson holding down Detroit's blueline for years to come.

Now blink: it's next year and your imagination is real.