Red Wings prospect Jonatan Berggren spoke with HockeyNews.se’s Henrik Sjoberg from the World Junior Summer Showcase, where Berggren is still shaking off some rust after suffering a back injury this past season.
What follows is roughly translated from Swedish, and the Swedish mostly comes from an interview that HockeyNews.se posted on its YouTube page:
Berggren is physically ready: ‘I’ve been useful to be injured’
Plymouth. A stress fracture in his back put a stop to games in the fall last season.
There were only 16 games for Jonatan Berggren [last season]–but the 19-year-old doesn’t only see disadvantages of having suffered a long-term injury.
“I’ve been given time to really build up myself in the gym, so it’s been useful to be injured,” says the Skelleftea AIK forward to HockeyNews.se.
Jonatan Berggren had a strong finish to the 2017-18 season and was one of the best players in the Under-18 World Championship in the spring before the draft.
He posted 10 points (5+5) and finished in fourth place in his league in points, which Jack Hughes topped with 12 points in 7 games.
Two months after the championship in Russia, the Detroit Red Wings grabbed the rights to Berggren when drafting him in the second round, 33rd overall.
Last year, the plan for Berggren was to play his first real year in the SHL with Skelleftea, and he was in the mix for a World Junior Championship spot.
But he only played in 16 games before his season ended.
A stress fracture in the back eventually forced him to throw in the towel.
“It was obviously really tough, it was my first real season with the A-team, and I went on the injured list early, so it was tough. I felt pain in my back but fought on for a few games, and eventually knew it wasn’t working, and I got an x-ray quite quickly and the news came,” says Berggren to HockeyNews.se.
How long have you been completely injury-free now?
“Since the [SHL] preseason started, so I’ve been training with Skelleftea all summer.
The injury stopped him from playing during much of last year’s campaign, but it also meant that he had to spend important hours in the gym.
“Yes, I’ve had time to really build up myself, so it’s been useful to be injured, you could say,” explains Berggren.
The Junior Crowns are in Plymouth right now to kick off the season, and tonight the team is playing in their first game at the World Junior Summer Showcase.
Berggren is one of three Skelleftea players on Tomas Monten’s first national team squad. Albin Eriksson and the new acquisition from Timra, Jacob Olofsson, are in place just outside Detroit.
“He (Olofsson) is a very capable center and a very fun person. We’ve known each other for a long time.”