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Andersson makes NHL debut

Rookie forward logged time on fourth line in Wings' win

Wednesday, 12.28.2011 / 12:57 PM ET / News
By Zack Crawford  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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Andersson makes NHL debut
Joakim Andersson became the third Red Wings' rookie to make his NHL debut this season when he logged 5:10 of ice-time against the Blues Tuesday. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
DETROITJoakim Andersson was preparing to practice with the Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday morning when the Red Wings called with news that he would make his NHL debut in a matter of hours.

Andersson, 22, packed his bags, drove to Detroit and — after a quick nap at the hotel — donned a Red Wings uniform for the first time in his career. He was the seventh player to make his Wings' debut this season, including forward Gustav Nyquist and defenseman Brendan Smith, who also made their NHL debuts.

The Red Wings arrived home from a win in Nashville late Monday night with an injured Tomas Homstrom (groin) and the prospect of another game — against a much bigger team — within 24 hours.

With 18 of 23 players on St. Louis’ active roster weighing more than 200 pounds (and seven players over 220), the Wings, who have only 11 players over 200, needed some weight to stack up against the Blues.

At 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds, Andersson provided a physical presence in the lineup that offset the loss of Holmstrom and helped the Wings to a 3-2 comeback victory over the Blues at Joe Louis Arena. Holmstrom is expected to be out of the lineup for at least 10 days.

And even if Andersson’s contributions didn’t dramatically affect the course of the game – he logged 5:10 of ice-time with one hit on Blues defenseman Kris Russell – being called up for the night certainly changed the course of his holiday week.

“It’s a special feeling to play,” said Andersson, afterwards. “It’s a dream come true to play in the NHL with Detroit. It’s an honor to be a part of this organization. It was a special feeling to put the jersey on and skate out here.”

Acquired by the Wings in the third-round of the 2007 draft, Andersson has played center with the Griffins since the beginning of the 2010-11 season. The Griffin’s last game was four days before Christmas, so Andersson was well-rested for his first appearance at JLA. He finally made his debut 2:12 into the first period as a winger on the fourth line with Cory Emmerton and Justin Abdelkader.

Competing in all 29 of the Griffins’ games so far this season, Andersson has picked up eight goals and nine assists. The Swede has been generating on a line with Nyquist, who made his NHL debut when he was called up to play Dec. 1 against the Minnesota Wild.

“I play center down there, but it was fun to play on the wing,” Andersson said. “I could pick up stuff from (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Pavel) Datsyuk and all these guys, just small things like how they see the ice and what kind of plays they make and how they play defensively.”

Wearing the No. 63, Andersson completed eight shifts throughout the night. His girlfriend and her mother watched from the stands as he and the Wings pushed a point ahead of St. Louis in the Central Division standings.

“I got more comfortable after a few shifts and know a little bit about what it’s all about,” Andersson said. “It was fun. Of course I love to play up here, but it’s a good team so I’ve got to be patient.”



SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80