Steve Yzerman hadn't seen Simon Edvinsson in more than a year when the Red Wings top prospect came to Detroit last month for development camp. He had only watched him play on TV. His first (second) impression of the 19-year-old in person?
"He’s pretty big," Yzerman said. "When you watch him on the ice, he looks kind of thin and I wasn’t sure, is he going to be strong enough to play in the NHL or even the AHL (this season)? Then you get to meet him off the ice, he’s pretty well-built for a 19-year-old. You look at him and think, jeez, I don’t know that strength is going to be an issue that might hold him back this year. It’ll be just, can he play at the pace, can he think it at the NHL pace?
"We’ll see that in the fall, but he certainly has the skating ability and I think he has the strength to compete in the NHL based on seeing him here at the prospects camp."
'Pretty big' is putting it lightly. Listed at 6'4 when the Red Wings drafted him sixth overall in 2021, Edvinsson came to development camp listed at 6'6, with a listed weight of 205 lbs. Moritz Seider, the reigning Rookie of the Year and Edvinsson's future defensive partner in Detroit, is listed at 6'4, 197 lbs. How's that sound to opposing forwards?
"He’s very athletic," Yzerman said of Edvinsson. "A big guy that can skate well like that, it’s pretty encouraging. You see Moritz has a bit of that length with their arms and being able to just break up plays with their stick. Nick Lidstrom had that. He was 6’1, but he had long arms and a long stick and it made the game easier for him, and I think Simon has a little bit of that. Combined with his size and his skating ability, it’s hard to get around because he can keep up with you and then if you get a step on him, he’s got that length with the stick to just knock the puck off your own stick. So we expect him to be a solid defender."
Again, that's probably putting it lightly. If he fulfills his potential, there's no reason Edvinsson can't be one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Seider is already on his way there. Edvinsson is aiming to make Detroit's Opening Night roster. Once the two of them start playing together, heads up.