DetroitRedWings.com’s Arthur J. Regner examines Wings prospect Kasper Kotkansalo’s 2017-18 season this morning. Kotkansalo, who played at Boston University this past season, projects to be a middle-pair defenseman of the Kyle Quincey-at-his-best variety, but a physical, two-way defenseman is quite useful.
Regner spoke with Wings director of player development Shawn Horcoff regarding Kotkansalo’s freshman campaign:
Quotable: “He had a great freshman year. Like a lot of freshmen, it took him a few games to get comfortable early on and actually his game really took off and excelled. At the end of the season he probably got a little bit tired and his game fell off a little bit, but that’s just a normal routine, the normal learning curve a player has going to college. It’s no easy step, it’s the first time you’re playing against men. Everyone is older, anywhere from 18 to 24, and sometimes it may take some time to learn that, but Kasper is a guy we’re really excited about. We were really happy with his freshman year. I’d say he’s more of a defender. He’s going to be a guy that’s going to be hard to play against. He is intense, he has really good hockey sense, he has a really good first pass. The offense that he’s going to create is from his passing ability and his hockey sense in general. He’s a guy that we’re going to rely upon hopefully down the road to play against other team’s better players and defend them hard and physical. His overall strength needs to improve, much like every guy his foot speed needs to improve. At the World Juniors this year I think he realized that, we talk to Kasper lots and it’s not that he’s a bad skater, just that if you want to get to the next level you have to defend against guys like (Sidney) Crosby, (Auston) Matthews and (Connor) McDavid, you’ve got to be able to move and you have to be agile. So he’s in the same boat as a lot of young guys in that regard, but BU has an outstanding physical fitness program, one of the better college programs for that, so we know he’s in very good hands out there.” – Shawn Horcoff, Red Wings director of player development