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Detroit Red Wings Sign Axel Sandin-Pellikka to 3-year ELC – Hockey Writers – Detroit Red Wings

One week after winning the SHL championship with Skellefteå AIK (April 29, 2024), Detroit Red Wings prospect Axel Sandin Pellikka signed his three-year, entry-level contract (ELC) with Detroit. Drafted 17th overall in the 2023 NHL Draft, the right-handed defenseman has emerged as one of the best players in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). The 19-year-old had 10 goals and 18 points in 39 games with Skellefteå AIK and was awarded the Börje Salming Trophy as the best Swedish-born defenseman in the SHL. He also won a silver medal with Sweden at the 2024 World Junior Championship and was named the tournament's best defenseman, recording six points in seven games.

But what does all this mean? Expectations for his arrival in the Motor City need to be tempered, as Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said when speaking to the media at the end of the season. The current plan is for him to stay another year in Sweden. “I expect him to stay,” Yzerman said on April 19. “We haven't actually had a conversation with him, but I expect him to stay in Sweden for another season, but we haven't actually sat down and picked up the phone with him and (said), 'Hey Axel, what do you like to do? ' But my opinion, my understanding right now is that he's going to stay another year, and if we want to do that, we're very happy about it.”

Axel Sandin Pellikka, Team Sweden (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

This agreement was not legal, but interesting nonetheless. The versatile defenseman appears to be a big part of the Red Wings' future, and I would have to predict that we will see him with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League (AHL) for a spell after the 2024-25 season but at the same time. time, I wouldn't be surprised to see him push for a roster spot next season.

Related: When Will the Red Wings' Top Prospects Arrive in the NHL?

Sandin-Pellikka signing his ELC may come as a surprise considering he plans to stay in Sweden for another year but at 19 years old, Detroit will be able to swing the deal. That means if he doesn't play 10 NHL games next year, his first year of the contract (ELC) carries over to the next season. This seems like the most likely scenario but it gives him – and the Red Wings – the option to move to North America immediately if he chooses to go that route. Make no mistake though, this is encouraging news for Detroit as they appear to be one step closer to seeing one of their top prospects wear the Winged Wheel.

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