Red Wings of Tomorrow evaluates each possibility in the Detroit Red Wings system and what they expect to be in the future. We’ll look at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them as they advance through the Detroit organization. Today, we’re featuring the Liam Dower Nilsson Center
Liam Doer Nelson
How is the acquisition: Picked 134th Overall, 2021 NHL Draft Entry
2021-22 stats: (GP-GAP): 10-0-0-0 (with Frolunda); 34-19-31-50 (with Västra Frolunda Jr.)
Contract Status: UN-signed
2022-23 Team Prediction: Frolunda
Dower Nilsson was the prospect Hakan Andersson of the Red Wings “bombed the table” for Detroit to use his pick in the fifth round. So far, he has been nothing short of impressive and has had a virtual season in the Swedish Junior League.
Liam Dower Nilsson, #19, had 5 points today in J20 (as he was mistakenly scored with a goal from his younger brother Noah, #33).
– IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) January 8, 2022
In his short appearance, playing 10 games for the big club, he was goalless. The expectations are that the 19-year-old will be with the first team all season and there is no reason to believe he won’t.
Before he was drafted, draft analysts predicted Dower Nillson as a strong two-way forward (Tony Ferrari) as he admired his influence in the locker room. Best friends with potential Red Wings teammate Simon Edvinsson, Dower Nillson might not expect to be the top scorer like Lucas Raymond. But intangible information and a high hockey IQ (shown above in the clips) certainly make sense for Red Wings general manager Steve Zerman.
“Another high-ranking kid. The coaches were taking care of him,” said Mark Seidel, of the Central Independent Scouting Service North America. “He’s very smart defensively and he can take out the top players of other teams. Like (Red Wings fellow Red Wings) Savage, he’s not a lot of attacking but he will make the most of his talent.”
Estimated time of arrival in Detroit
Dower Nilsson just turned 19 in April, but he’s already one of Detroit’s top potential players. DHN made him the Red Wings’ seventh-best attacking player, and a full year of experience in the SHL should only improve the young center’s image.
Although potential analysts may disagree on exactly where Dower Nilsson will specify, it’s a case of watching players like Elmer Soderblom who had a great season with Frolunda and is now one of the up-and-coming players in the Detroit system. Dower Nilsson could very well be a similar case where an entire season in the SHL could prepare him for the ice in North America the following season.
While they are different players, Soderblom spent two seasons and 80 games in the SHL. The full season of 52 games plus the 15 he already played at SHL Dower Nilsson should make him a good candidate to sign an entry-level deal and end up at Grand Rapids. This of course hinges on Dower Nilsson seeing the same success with the first club.
If the upward trajectory continues, Dower Nilsson will likely be at Grand Rapids for the 2023-24 season. As for the Red Wings, 2024-25 appearing on the nightly opener’s roster looks realistic.
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