The message to highly regarded defensive prospect Simon Edwinsson during his first training camp with the Detroit Red Wings is to make the most of his 6-foot-6, 207-pound frame.

“Guys on me, (Dylan) Larkin especially, to be harder, win my one-on-ones,” Edvinson said. “I have a pretty big body, pretty far. In Sweden you kind of have time for everything. It’s a different kind of one-on-one duel behind the boards. You have to be more aggressive here, and that’s what I have to be the best at. If I work on it and feel comfortable, the game will increase and I will build my confidence.”

Edvinsson has the perfect role model in Moritz Seider, who is nearly as big (6-4, 205) and showed last season how hard he can play en route to winning the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year.

“He plays a tough game that I want to develop,” Edvinson said. “I try to see how he practices, how he plays. We have a different style of play, but a lot of what he does, I can do, play hard and play the puck.

“He’s one of the best defenders in the league. I need to earn my place. I try to watch him as much as possible to develop my game from there and maybe reach that level after a while.”

Edvinsson, the sixth pick in 2021, is trying to earn an NHL roster spot after blossoming with Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League.

His strengths are his ability to skate and move the puck. But even the smaller Lucas Raymond, Edvinson’s former Frolunda teammate, showed him how to compete in the drills.

“He likes to fight. It’s fun. It gets everyone else going,” Edvinson said. “One thing I’ve really learned is that you have to be so aggressive and tougher on the player.”

Meanwhile, coach Derek LaLonde’s message to Edvinson is don’t try to overdo it.

“Our goal will be to simplify things for him,” Lalonde said. “What’s really important for Simon is the hard reps. Play within yourself, take things in stride, take a very hard approach to practice and get those tough reps in – that’s what we’re going to expect from Simon.”

Edwinsson is widely expected to be in the Red Wings’ lineup for the Oct. 14 opener against Montreal. General manager Steve Yzerman said he’s tempering expectations, noting that Edwinson is just 19 years old and a year removed from the draft.

“Moritz had the benefit of playing a year in the American League and then going over during the pandemic and playing a year in Sweden, so he got that extra year of development before he came in,” Yzerman said. “I think Simon has a good chance. I can’t sit here today and tell you that he’s definitely going to be in the lineup at the premiere. But we are pleased with much of what we saw in a promising tournament.

“Watching him last week, Simon looks pretty comfortable on the ice. He gets (the puck), he moves it. … He is a good athlete. He had a great season and a good offseason.”

Edvinsson said Niklas Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall, former Red Wings employees who now work in the front office, told him he looked good last week in the prospect tournament, but Edvinsson wasn’t happy with his play.

“I have higher expectations of myself,” he said.

“You have to earn your place. This is what they told me. That’s what I want to do. I don’t want it to be given because of some hype. I want to feel like I can play my game in this league.”

Off the ice in Traverse City, Edwinson has developed a relationship with veteran Ben Ciarot. Olli Maata and Gustav Lindstrom, his defensive partner in practice, helped. The fishing expedition did not produce a large catch, but Edvinsson won a mini-golf competition against several fellow Swedes.

“I’d say I’m the best miniature golfer around here,” he said.

The Red Wings’ best defense pairings seem to consist of Chiaro-Sider and Maat-Filip Hronek. Edvinson could compete for a spot on the third pairing with Lindstrom and veterans Jordan Osterle and Robert Haag (Jake Wallman and Mark Pysyk will start the season on injured reserve).

“I want him to play regularly, I don’t want him in and out of the lineup, I don’t want him to not get an opportunity on special teams, at least on one of the units,” Yzerman said. “We’ll kind of let his game dictate — No. 1 in the preseason, how much he plays — and then we’ll make a decision at some point. Most importantly, I want him to play a significant role.”

Preseason games will determine whether Edvinson makes the team or starts the season with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins.

“Is it possible for him to step in and play in the NHL and be an impact player? Yes,” Yzerman said. “But let’s live and see. If it’s ready, great. If not, that’s okay. I think he’s going to be a really good player in the league. Is it this year? Is it Christmas? Is it next year? We’ll see.”

more: The Red Wings are starting a new era under “Newsy” Lalonde

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