The Detroit Red Wings took a flyer on 26-year-old Orebro HK forward Mathias Brome this past spring, signing the Swedish scorer to a 1-year contract. Brome spoke with HockeyNews.se’s Mattias Ek regarding his decision to sign with the Red Wings, as well as his status as waiting out the pandemic with Orebro in the SHL. What follows is roughly translated from Swedish:
Brome’s NHL dream will give Orebro a kick-start: “It’s enough to watch now”
A conversation with Detroit general manager Steve Yzerman made Mathias Brome choose to sign with the Detroit Red Wings over Vancouver.
After not playing in a game for 16 days, the Orebro star now wants to begin a hockey party in the team’s premiere against HV71.
“Right now it’s enough to watch the other games. I watched a bit of Malmo-Leksand. But you want to be there yourself and get a point,” says Brome to HockeyNews.se.
Mathias Brome is Orebro’s big forward star. Last season, the 26-year-old from Stockholm was the team’s points king when he posted 43 points (17 goals and 26 assists) in 52 SHL games.
When Orebro hosts HV71 in their SHL debut on Thursday night, Brome will be part o the first line with Latvian national team center Rodrigo Abols and the NHL-veteran Croatian right winger Bora Rendulic.
So when Brome was not on the ice for Orebro’s last practice day before the premiere, Orebro’s fans became a little uneasy. But Mathias Brome needed to get a visa for his NHL trip in November, and he’d gone to Stockholm to pay a visit to the U.S. embassy.
“It’s a so-called contract visa. I had the time and had to go. We also have (a morning skate), so it’s quiet,” says Brome.
He’s on loan from Detroit until the NHL season starts later this fall. During the preseason, he, Abols and Rendulic have played top hockey together, and produced goals and assists in addition to good play.
“It’s felt good. It’s clear that it will take more time before we find each other 100%. But that’s always the case. The games we have played together, I think that it’s worked out well,” says Brome.
The different roles of the linemates are fairly clear.
“Rendulic is a distinct goal-scorer. It’s almost like you know when you pass to him that he’ll score a goal. He’s so good at it,” says Brome, who continues:
“Abols is a skilled center who will work as hard as I do, and win pucks and also find and distribute some passes there. I think we will work very well together. I’m not worried about that.”
Orebro’s rematch against Brynas was canceled, as was an exhibition game against Linkoping, which means that the team hasn’t played a game since September 8th, an away game vs. Oskarshamn.
So before their SHL premiere against HV71, Orebro’s had over two weeks without a game.
“It’s clear that this is a special situation that we’re in, considering that we haven’t played. But there’s not much we can do about it. It’s just as well that we become as prepared for (HV71) as possible. It’s hard to tell if you’re prepared or not. It usually takes 10 games into the season before you’re really good, ha ha.”
“We had of course hoped to be able to have a game or two, but we’ve had very good practices where we’ve played two-goals, and we did it as an internal game where we had good pace. It’s not optimal, but the situation is as it is in the world right now.”
Mathias Brome has prepared meticulously for this season as there’s a chance that he’ll make his NHL debut with Detroit.
“I feel that I’m in incredibly good shape, I trained very well in the summer and really laid an incredibly good foundation. I feel that on the ice I’ve got better on my edges, with skating, compared to last year, even though I had trained really well then, too. It feels like I’ve raised up a bit more this year and will be able to test myself even more. I actually feel that I’m in very good shape,” Brome admits when he gets to think a bit.
His NHL adventure awaits him.
“It’s a dream come true for me, to go over there and try my luck and try to compete to get a chance in the world’s best hockey league. It’s clear that this is why I’m very prepared and incredibly excited for what’s to come.”
It was a chat with Detroit GM Steve Yzerman that got Brome to choose the Red Wings over Vancouver.
“First of all, I had a really good chat with Steve Yzerman, where he explained about their season, how it has been there lately, and what they will go through with their rebuild. They’re redoing everything there. I felt that there was the greatest chance for me to be able to settle in and play in Detroit. I have a very good feeling about it. Then it’s up to me to show that I should have a spot on the team. It’s not like I have a spot.”
During its heyday, Detroit went to the Stanley Cup playoffs for over 20 years in a row, with, among others, players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Tomas Holmstrom. Every year between 1990 and 2016.
But now the hunt for the Cup has been blocked for four years in a row. Mathias Brome hopes to become part of Yzerman’s team-building.
“I like his hockey sense, I like his competitive spirit. He’s not a finesse player like Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk. He’s a worker with some skill who can contribute with some passes and some goals. We’ll see whether it’s possible for those skills to transfer to the NHL,” Yzerman told MLive.com after Brome had signed his NHL contract this past summer.
But now only a couple of months of SHL hockey await him.
Do you feel premiere nerves before the game vs. HV71?
“No, not nerves. I’m looking forward to this very much. I’m pumped up to get started and play games. I feel really eager to play hockey again. It feels like it’s been a long time since I played competitive games that mattered. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s too bad that we won’t have people in the stands, but we can hope that we’ll have some in the future,” says Mathias Brome.