DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji profiles Red Wings prospect Zach Nastasiuk today, and Nastasiuk is the poster boy for a near-legion’s worth of solid grinding forwards who may or may not make the NHL.
In Nastasiuk’s case, the son of a CFL football player has struggled to gain traction in the AHL, but the affable 23-year-old has played quite well for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, and Nastasiuk appears ready to “stick” in the AHL:
Quotable: “He went to Toledo and when we called him up, he played himself into our lineup. He knows how to do everything right out there, he’s dependable and a heavy body. He played very well for us. This was a very important year for him. Seeing him at the end of the year, he was playing with more confidence, holding onto the puck. He knows how to play the right way, play on the right side of the puck. You only have to tell him something one time and he does it right. He’s a pretty smart player. When he first got here, he could keep his speed for about 25 seconds and after that, he would get fatigued and slow down. I didn’t see that at all this year.” — Todd Nelson, former Grand Rapids Griffins head coach
Wakiji continues, examining Nastasiuk’s “numbers” from the 2017-18 season. I’m a fan of Nastasiuk’s work ethic, but I’m not sure whether his skating will improve enough to earn him an NHL spot.