Berggren Sits Final Game of WJSS
On the final day of the World Junior Summer Showcase, Sweden coach Tomas Monten opted to err on the side of caution with forward Jonathan Berggren.
The Detroit Red Wings 2018 second-round draft pick was seeing his first game action in this tournament since his 2018-19 season ended in November by a back injury.
Monten consulted with Skelleftea, Berggren’s club team in Sweden, and promised not to play the 19-year-old in back-to-back games at least until toward the end of the tournament.
As Sweden readied for the final game against arch-rival Finland, Monten opted to sit Berggren out, even though he insisted he was feeling no after-effects from Friday’s game against Canada.
“He’s really pissed off at me,” Monten said. “But I told him I don’t want to take any chances. I think he had three great games for us coming in for the first time since November.
“I talked to Skelleftea last night and they said the same thing. They’re really glad for him. They liked his three games. They told us we could make the decision.
“We don’t want to push anything. It’s a summer tournament. I know he wanted to play. We like him to play but still we want him to feel good when he goes back to Skelleftea and competes for a spot there. So it’s no issues at all. He feels really good.”
Monten did see ample evidence of rink rust in Berggren’s performance while in Plymouth, Mich. for this event.
“I think the timing isn’t there,” Monten said. “I think he gave up, lost some puck battles and for me, I think he should be a player that finds the open space.
“For me, he’s a player like (2020 projected lottery pick Alexander) Holtz, that could skate to the far blueline, find openings, get a breakaway. And I would like him to get a bit tougher on the forecheck. He should be a player that chases the puck, that hounds the puck.
“When he gets the puck, he’s gonna create great scoring chances. And he needs to shoot a little bit more. Yesterday he had a really nice set up for (David) Gustafsson’s goal. That’s the thing he could provide. He sees openings on the ice and he’s cool with the puck. He doesn’t stress.
“For sure Skelleftea’s really high on him coming back and I hope he gets to stay healthy. He could be an asset for us.”
Monten also recognizes that by missing most of last season, it’s put Berggren behind the eight ball in his bid to earn a spot on the Swedish world junior squad.
“As I told him, if he’s healthy, he’s a contender for sure,” Monten said. “But to be a contender because of the season he had, he needs to play. He needs to stay healthy.”
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