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  • Second-Ranked International Defenseman Played With Sweden’s Skellefteå AIK in 2022-23 

The Detroit Red Wings today selected defenseman Axel Sandin Pellikka in the first round (17th overall) of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

Sandin Pellikka spent part of the 2022-23 season with Skellefteå AIK in the Swedish Hockey League, recording five points (2-3-5) and a plus-two rating in 22 games. His five points were the most of any defenseman 18 years of age or younger in Sweden’s highest professional league. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound blueliner logged a plus-one rating and two penalty minutes in seven Champions Hockey League games, helping Skellefteå AIK reach the quarterfinals of the competition. Additionally, Sandin Pellikka was named the best defenseman in Sweden’s top junior league after racking up 36 points (16-20-36), a plus-15 rating and 64 penalty minutes in 31 games with Skellefteå AIK’s under-20 team, along with one assist in two postseason appearances. He also contributed three points (2-1-3) in five playoff games with Skellefteå AIK’s under-18 squad. Sandin Pellikka entered tonight’s draft ranked second on NHL’s Central Scouting list among international defensemen.

A native of Gällivare, Sweden, Sandin Pellikka split the 2021-22 campaign between Skellefteå AIK’s under-20 and under-18 teams. He tallied three points (1-2-3), a plus-three rating and six penalty minutes with the under-20 group, in addition to 21 points (9-12-21) and 12 penalty minutes in 30 contests at the under-18 level. Sandin Pellikka has developed with Skellefteå AIK since 2019-20, notching 39 points (17-22-39), a plus-18 rating and 70 penalty minutes in 45 games at the under-20 level, 22 points (9-13-22) in 40 games with the under-18 team and 12 points (3-9-12) in 24 games for the under-16 squad.

On the international stage, Sandin Pellikka represented Sweden at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship tallying one assist and six penalty minutes in seven games. He earned a silver medal at the 2023 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, compiling 11 points (2-9-11), a plus-eight rating in seven appearances. Sandin Pellikka also won a silver medal at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, dishing out two assists in five games.

Detroit currently has eight picks for the second day of the 2023 Entry Draft: three in the second round (41st, 42nd and 43rd), one in the third round (73rd), one in the fourth round (117th), one in the fifth round (137th), one in the sixth round (169th) and one in the seventh round (201st).