Impressions from the Red and White Game on the fifth and final day of the Wings’ summer development camp ’19

The Detroit Red Wings’ prospects engaged in a spirited, physical and sometimes nasty affair as Teams Howe and Lindsay took part in a full scrimmage on Saturday, with Team Lindsay winning 5-4 in a shootout.

The four nearly full lower-bowl sections represented a pretty dang intense fan presence for a summer game played on Saturday, June 29th, and Little Caesars Arena buzzed with energy, especially when defenseman Moritz Seider skated with the puck (there was a moment when Seider was actually applauded for making a savvy play).

Thus ended the Red Wings’ five-day summer development camp; after a few on-ice celebrations and a post-game meeting (I would hazard a guess that GM Steve Yzerman spoke to both teams), the players were already scattering to the four winds when the media corps interviewed four subjects; half the players shoveled their gear into hockey bags and prepared to head to Metro Airport to head “back home,” and the prospects who are spending the summer locally or are plain old locals were headed to a legendary Al Sobotka barbecue.

If you missed it, the Red Wings’ archived their webcast of the Red and White Game, so you can watch the entire two-and-a-half-hour broadcast here:

I am admittedly exhausted after coming back to work to grind out five days’ worth of observation and analysis, complete with early mornings, late evenings, and nasty rush-hour traffic in addition to hours of writing, but it’s time to write one more set of “impressions” to build upon days one, two, three and four (both morning and 3-on-3-scrimmage night).

I must reiterate for the last time that the impressions I issue are made during a summer development camp in which the players were explicitly told that no jobs were on the line; I am also a subjective observer, and I did not see everything or see enough of 48 players over the course of 5 short days to dare to make predictions as to where each and every one of the participants will be playing hockey five years from now.

So, here are my impressions as made both during the Red and White Game and over the entirety of the Red Wings’ 5-day summer development camp. I hope you enjoy them:

Team Howe

Forwards

#14 Robert Mastrosimone: A 2019 draft pick, Mastrosimone was just hitting his stride in the scrimmage when he chose to block a shot in a summer game, and he broke his right ankle in the process. The 5’10,” 170-pound Mastrosimone will miss 4-6 weeks and then be ready to start the 2019-2020 season with Boston College, where the puck-carrying forward will attempt to improve upon a USHL season in which he posted 60 points in 54 games. I didn’t see that kind of scoring in Mastrosimone over the course of development camp–instead, I saw a steady, speedy puck-lugger who has a lot of potential for improved skill but stands among a litany of small, skilled forwards in the Wings’ prospect pipeline.

#44 Ryan O’Reilly: Ryan O’Reilly displayed some of the goal-scoring jam and poise that the 2018 draft pick hopes to display on a more regular basis in the USHL this upcoming season. O’Reilly plays bigger than his already big 6’2,” 201-pound size, and the Texan skates like a linebacker, knees and back hunched over, protecting the puck as he chugs up the ice. He chips, chases, grinds and hacks and whacks like someone who wants the puck, and there is a LOT of potential in the 19-year-old, so he’s deferring his freshman season at the University of Denver to try and display his goal-scoring form on a regular basis.

#46 Chase Pearson: Pearson is only 22 years old, but the 2015 draft pick plays with a maturity beyond his years. Pearson plays center and stands at 6’2″ and 200 lean pounds, but he possesses his dad’s physique, i.e. he’s ripped, so Pearson skates superbly well, he can pass, shoot and make plays, win draws and check his tail off. Turning pro this upcoming season, Pearson will crack the Griffins or Walleye’s roster and try to establish himself as a two-way forward. He possesses the tools, chops and character to do just that after three strong seasons at the University of Maine, his final one as a co-captain.

#56 Ryan Kuffner: Kuffner is a ball of enthusiasm in hockey player form. I’m still not sure whether the 6’1,” 195-pound free agent signing out of Princeton is going to repeat the kind of numbers he posted in college (44 points in 31 NCAA games), but the 23-year-old has an admirable work ethic, he skates strongly and he does possess scoring and passing abilities that are at least AHL-level good. It’s going to be up to Kuffner, who will begin the 2019-20 campaign in Grand Rapids, to ensure that his skills do the talking as his work ethic does the walking.

#57 Jonatan Berggren: Berggren played an excellent game and had an excellent showing in the 3-on-3 tournament as well. The 2018 draft pick is anything but big at a listed 5’10” and 181 pounds, but the water bug forward carries the puck up ice with him with quickness, pace and urgency, and he distributes the puck particularly well because he doesn’t shy away from players much bigger and stronger than he is. He possesses the competitive fires, skating ability and core strength to win physical battles, and the “upside” for the Skelleftea AIK forward is elite at all of 19.

#62 Cody Morgan: Morgan, a 5’10,” 183-pound free agent try-out, was brought in because the OHL center posted 33 points in 33 games with the Flint Firebirds, impressing the Wings despite being passed over in the 2019 draft. The 18-year-old is yet another small forward and he faces a seriously uphill climb in attempting to eke out a contract with the Wings, Griffins or Walleye, but the hard-working, fast Morgan will return for the fall prospect tournament, and perhaps he will impress there.

#76 Jarid Lukosevicius: Another small forward, the 24-year-old Lukosevicius was signed to an AHL contract by the Grand Rapids Griffins after posting 29 points in 40 games for the University of Denver. There were times on Friday and Saturday that Lukosevicius displayed the kind of maturity, poise and skill that you would expect from a turning-pro 24-year-old, and he occasionally made a daring play, but his speed is good and not great. He’ll probably take part in the prospect tournament.

#79 Samuel Bucek: Bucek really drove me nuts over the course of the past week, because the free agent invite from KooKoo of the Finnish league has a massive 6’3,” 192-pound frame, the right-shooting forward posted 30 goals and 51 points in 53 games with Nitra of the Slovak Extraliga this past season, and he can bump and grind, using that big body to crash and bang his way toward the net, but the goal-scoring forward mostly looked like a set of really nice tools without a toolbox. He was inconsistent and sometimes skittish, and at 21, he’s got to step up this year in Finland to earn a North American pro contract.

#81 Alex Limoges: Limoges didn’t have the best scrimmage after dazzling in the 3-on-3 game. The free agent invite from Penn State is 22 and posted 50 points in only 39 games played over the course of his sophomore season, and the speedy center could be another Taro Hirose-style late-blooming high-talent free agent signing, assuming he continues to dominate play at the NCAA level. Limoges is plain old fast, he distributes the puck superbly, he’s got a smart and hard shot and his 6’1,” 201-pound frame belies a drivetrain that exceeds his size. He simply has to keep up the good work for another season, and if the Red Wings don’t sign him, someone else will give him a pro contract.

#85 Elmer Soderblom: Soderblom had excellent 3-on-3 and scrimmage games, and the 2019 draft pick continued to impress because he is so utterly at ease with his 6’7,” 220-pound frame. Soderblom plays a smooth, sharp game, and he and Albin Grewe nearly got into a fight, so there’s no demurring physically. Soderblom posted only 17 points in 44 Under-18 league games with Frolunda, but he possesses enough scoring potential and enough skating ability to be an exciting, if incredibly raw prospect. Unlike so many of the Wings’ other “big men,” he won’t struggle for a minute to grow into his massive frame, and that’s fantastic.

#88 Chad Yetman: Yetman is another small forward free agent try-out. 5’11” and 176 pounds, the 19-year-old Erie Otters forward posted 57 points in 68 games, but was passed over in the draft for a second time. Yetman has the skating skills and grit to impress at times, but he mostly “bobbed along on the current with the other free agent try-outs,” which is a nice way of saying that he did not stand out positively nor negatively.

#90 Joe Veleno: Veleno managed to make me more and more excited about the potential of the 19-year-old center who’s graduating from Drummondville of the QMJHL, where he served as team captain and posted 104 points in 59 games. Veleno could very well slot into the Wings’ lineup as a 2nd line, playmaking center or a 3rd line, shut-down forward (if not a combination of both roles), but his skating is elite, he is a tremendous playmaker whose vision, passing and pass selection are excellent, he has a wicked shot, he checks and works his ass off, he wins faceoffs, grinds it out down low against forwards and defensemen a lot bigger than his 6’1,” 191-pound frame, and his ceiling is elite.

Defensemen

#53 Moritz Seider: Seider is still all of 7 days away from being drafted by the Red Wings, and the 6’4,” 207-pound Adler Mannheim alumnus did not dazzle during his rookie pro season, posting 6 points in 29 games. He is still somewhat raw, and there were moments during the 3-on-3 tournament and scrimmage that he abandoned his defensive responsibilities in pursuit of offense simply because he’s a plucky 18-year-old who wants to impress…

But the Red Wings landed a coup and a potential…sigh, I’m gonna say it, cornerstone defenseman, if not a tremendous 2/3/4 shut-down D in the Marc-Edouard Vlasic mold. Seider is a fantastic skater, especially given his age and stature, he’s next to Elmer Soderblom in terms of not suffering from Big Man’s Syndrome, his shot is laser-focused, his passing and playmaking and puck-lugging are all excellent and mature, his vision is great and he plays like someone who skated this past season with men.

Possessing a fine pedigree, an excellent work ethic and a confident personality, Seider still has a lot of work to do in terms of becoming a North American defender with a little more grit, a little more strength, a little better decision-making and a little more consistency, but man, the potential Seider possesses is worth the 6th overall draft pick the Wings spent on him.

#84 Kasper Kotkansalo: Kotkansalo excelled during the 3-on-3 tournament and he excelled during the scrimmage. He won’t be back for the prospect tournament like Seider, so the 21-year-old Boston University defenseman will rebound from a mediocre sophomore season by pushing his 6’2,” 196-pound frame to play more than the stay-at-home game that will most likely earn him a professional hockey player’s salary here or back home in Finland.

It’s my hope that the cheery, confident Kotkansalo can evolve into a Kyle Quincey-like defenseman who plays no-frills hockey in an effective manner, but among his peers, at least, he was able to flash superb offensive abilities in terms of his passing, shooting and skating–and he knows that he’s got to gain a step of speed and a fair amount of mobility to become an NHL’er. Kotkansalo has to step up and crack BU’s top 4, and I believe he will accomplish his task.

#86 Seth Barton: Barton, playing on Team Howe instead of Team Lindsday for the scrimmage, finally showed the offensive chops and overall skill level that caused the Red Wings to pick the 6’3,” 174-pound defenseman 81st overall in 2018. The UMass-Lowell sophomore was plain old blazingly fast at times during the scrimmage, carrying and distributing the puck like someone who posted far more than his 10 points in 33 games this past season. Instead, Barton looked like a top-four defender with skating and passing skills to spare, and a surprising amount of grit and determination for someone who’s still 174 pounds in his equipment. He was fun to watch, and after a two years’ worth of puzzling me as to what his package contained, I am much more enthused about his prospects.

#92 Patrick Holway: Holway, also playing on Team Howe instead of Team Lindsay for the scrimmage, punched above his weight, a lot like Kasper Kotkansalo. The 6’4,” 204-pound 2015 draft pick is 22 going on 23 as he attempts to rebound from an NCAA transfer season spent in the gym instead of playing hockey, and he enters his junior year at Merrimack College hoping to play the kind of steady, physical defense that was elusive in terms of consistency when he played at the University of Maine. Holway has finally grown into his massive frame, and he showed a whole lot more offense than he’s known for while displaying above-average skating skills and a boatload of self-confidence. He’s a bottom-pair type guy, but, like Kotkansalo, the right-shooting Holway could make the Wings very happy down the line.

#95: Albert Johansson: I have hockey cards of Albert’s father, Robert, lugging the puck up ice for the Calgary Flames in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and Albert, not big at 6′ and 168 pounds, looks a lot like his father at times. Broad-shouldered despite an “average” frame and a little underpowered given his weight, the 2019 draft pick and Farjestads BK junior team defenseman posted 29 points in 40 games, and his speed and willingness to carry the puck up ice and distribute it properly give Johansson the kind of skill level necessary to, with a lot of physical work, possibly develop into a high-end prospect down the line.

#96 Cooper Moore: I’m still a little confused as to why the Wings were so ga-ga to go all in on a 6’1,” 181-pound defender playing high school hockey in Connecticut, but the Wings spent their 128th overall draft pick on the heading-to-the-BCHL defender, and I am gathering that the Wings see a Seth Barton-like level of skill in Moore’s as-yet raw and unpolished package.

#98 Owen Lalonde: The free agent invite from Guelph of the OHL displayed more poise than I expected from a 19-year-old who posted 41 solid points in 68 games this past season. Over the course of the final three days of development camp, Lalonde got better and better in terms of his execution, and the 6’1,” 185-pound native of the Windsor suburb of Riverside looked more and more like he belonged, at least with the try-outs. He’ll be able to come back for the fall prospect tournament.

Goaltenders

#34 Victor Brattstrom: Brattstrom had some up-and-down moments in the 3-on-3 tournament, and he had some hiccups on Saturday, but I remain sold on the potential of the 22-year-old starter from Timra IK of the SHL. Massive at 6’5″ and 198 pounds, the Jonas Gustavsson-style blocking netminder generally gets his big body in front of pucks and makes saves look easy, but his glove, blocker, toes and anticipation afford Brattstrom far more mobility than an initial viewing lets on. He’s got to post better numbers than he did this past season to intrigue the Wings to take a flyer on a North American pro contract, but he certainly has the potential to get ‘er done.

#38 Filip Larsson: Filip Larsson had a terrible 3-on-3 tournament, getting lit up for 8 goals in one game, but Larsson rebounded well from his setback, displaying fine form for Team Howe as the 21-year-old netminder got back into his proper frame of mind and proper frame of goaltending on Saturday afternoon. Larsson isn’t huge at 6’2″ and 187 lanky pounds, and he’s endured a winding developmental path through the Swedish junior league, USHL and NCAA hockey, undergoing groin surgery this past fall after suffering two groin injuries in two years. Larsson has regained his excellent mobility, and when he’s focused on playing within his skill set, he’s positionally sound, he’s got a great glove hand, strong blocker, his stick skills are superb, his pads seal the ice and he has active and fast toes. He places himself at the top of his crease and anticipates plays well. He just needs more playing time and perhaps regular playing time, which will take a leap made as he turns pro with the Griffins or Walleye.

Larsson isn’t perfect, but he’s the best and most talented goaltender in the Red Wings’ system outside of Howard and Bernier.

#68 Drew DeRidder: DeRidder, a free agent try-out from Michigan State, is not big at all at 5’10” and 159 pounds, but the MSU junior is going to try to earn a starter’s spot at the NCAA level by playing a sound fundamental game which includes very little flash, less dash, and a near-professional level of reading plays so that he can move his frame into proper position prior to shots being taken. He’s not in the Wings’ plans, but he lived out a childhood dream this past week by playing for Detroit.

Team Lindsay

Forwards

#18 Albin Grewe: One of my favorite bands, the Eagles of Death Metal, have a song called, “Shit, Goddamn!” and that may fit the 18-year-old Grewe, picked 66th overall a week ago in Vancouver, perfectly. The 6,’ 187-pound Djurgardens IF junior forward is downright MEAN and he possesses the goal-scoring and passing skills to intrigue. He’s still quite raw, but Grewe spent the 3-on-3 tournament and scrimmage laying out hits, laying the body on opponents, hacking, whacking, grinding, almost getting in a fight with fellow Swede Elmer Soderblom and generally behaving badly while displaying the talent necessary to be more than just an enforcer. He’s a really intriguing little booger.

#22 Ethan Phillips: I felt more and more comfortable with the Wings’ decision to draft a 5’9,” 146-pound graduate of the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede with the 97th overall pick over the course of the past week. Another small forward, Phillips is truly fleet of foot and is an excellent puck-lugger, able to skate into high-traffic zones and distribute the puck with efficiency and poise. He’s heading to Boston University to join Mastrosimone and Kotkansalo, and Phillips has a lot of room to grow, but he possesses the skill set and work ethic to make it happen over time.

#42 Mathieu Bizier: Bizier scored what was probably the most timely hat trick of his life on Friday night during the 3-on-3 tournament, and he retreated back into the free agent try-out’s shadows on Saturday. The 6’1,” 187-pound Rimouski Oceanic center posted a solid-enough 39 points in 68 QMJHL games, and Bizier certainly displayed scoring chops on Friday, but he was otherwise inconspicuous over the course of 5 days’ worth of drills, and he will most likely get another chance to impress at the prospect tournament.

#49 Otto Kivenmaki: Otto Kivenmaki has a different kind of jam than Grewe, and it’s the kind of jam that Soderblom displays–in opposite world, where a 5’8,” 154-pound forward being very happy and very comfortable being 5’8″ and 154 darting, daring and sometimes downright gritty pounds yields an exciting forward prospect. Kivenmaki, all of 19, could easily develop into another Taro Hirose-style forward if he wishes to pursue his scoring or passing games further, and he’s going to try to earn a spot on Assat Pori’s men’s team back in Finland because Kivenmaki has no fear. He just skates into traffic, skates into battles with players who are a foot taller than he is, and he wins the puck more often than not. Kivenmaki can also dazzle with scoring skills, mash and jam down low, and play strong defensive hockey. I’m damn impressed by what I’ve seen over the past week from little Otto.

#50 Thomas Casey: Casey was invited to camp despite a 5’8,” 185-pound frame, and the native of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island played for his hometown Charlottetown Islanders in the Q this past season, but he was passed over in two straight drafts. Casey looked like yet another small forward who has speed and a decent amount of skill, but he did not differentiate himself from the pack. That being said, like the other Canadian Hockey League invites, he very well may return for the fall prospect tournament.

#58 Jack Adams: Adams got injured halfway through the Red and White game, and perhaps the injury was nagging, because Adams did not look like a grizzly bear on ice on Saturday after displaying the extent of his 6’6,” 204-pound frame’s ability to mash, crash and grind down his opponents on Friday night. The goal-scoring forward from Union College needs to make a developmental jump this upcoming season, and he possesses the work ethic and talent necessary to prove that a bigger version of Ryan O’Reilly can in fact succeed at the NCAA level. Adams has great shot, he skates superbly for a big man, and, at 22, he’s naturally mean. He’s an intriguing prospect.

#67 Taro Hirose: Hirose and Veleno were, absent Philip Zadina, the resident elite prospects at the forward position over the past five days. Hirose will never be more than a stocky little dude at a listed 5’10” and 160 pounds, but Hirose’s skill level, desire and attention to detail (see: professionalism) yield a mighty mite of an excellent passer, playmaker, shooter, scorer and even defensive forward with loads of moxie and professional anticipation. The 23-year-old free agent signing out of Michigan State is going to challenge for a spot on the Wings’ roster this fall, and he possesses a near-elite ceiling.

#75 Troy Loggins: They come in bunches. 5’9″ and 161 pounds, the Grand Rapids Griffins signed the skinny mini to an AHL/ECHL deal because he posted 40 points in 39 NCAA games with Northern Michigan this past season. Possessing skill, speed and jam, Loggins looked like a 24-year-old forward should, but he is small and most likely headed for the ECHL.

#78 Gregor MacLeod: MacLeod was also signed by the Griffins this past spring, and the 6,’ 183-pound center posted 84 points over the course of only 60 games played for the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs this past season. The Wings took a flyer on one of Joe Veleno’s teammates hoping that he turns out at least as well as Jordan Topping, the Tri-City Americans UFA signing who checked well for Toledo and GR after being signed as Michael Rasmussen’s teammate in close proximity last year at this time.

#82 Odeen Tufto: Tufto only began to display the kind of scoring prowess that propelled the free agent invite from Quinnipiac to highly-regarded status on Saturday. Small at 5’8″ and 174 pounds, the right-shooting center and 22-year-old posted 42 points in 38 games as a sophomore, and Jack Adams spoke glowingly about him, but it took until Saturday’s scrimmage for the skill set to become apparent. He is fast, he passes and shoots well, his playmaking skill is underrated, and he’s a small forward fighting for a pro contract at 22. Thank you, please drive through.

#89 Owen Robinson: Robinson rounds out the forward corps as a 6,’ 170-pound forward passed over in the 2018 and 2019 drafts, a 19-year-old who posted a solid but unspectacular 41 points in 61 games with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves. A free agent invite, Robinson did not stand out from the pack, but he may return for the fall prospect tournament.

Defensemen

#24 Antti Tuomisto: I like him, can we keep him? Very large at 6’4″ and a hefty-for-18 194 pounds, the 2019 draft pick and Assat Pori defenseman (he posted 35 points in 45 Under-18 league games) is a heavy, heavy-footed but effective defenseman who lugs the puck up ice superbly, makes near-Seider-level plays at times and has a hard shot and plays hard hockey, physically and mentally speaking. I was really impressed with the maturity and poise that Tuomisto displayed, and he is all of 18, but he’s grown into his body and he only really has to work on his skating to shake off those heavy feet if he is to continue to develop into a professional hockey player.

#26 Marc-Olivier Duquette: Duquette was invited as a free agent, and like so many of the Red Wings’ free agent invitees, the forwards’ smallness was made up for by players like the 6’4,” 205-pound Drummondville Voltigeurs defenseman. Duquette looked fleet-of-foot and plain old smooth during the 3-on-3 tournament and scrimmage. He’s coming back in the fall, and there may be something to Duquette yet.

#28 Gustav Lindstrom: Rise or fall, it’s up to Lindstrom now. Turning pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins or Toledo Walleye at the tender age of 20, Lindstrom displayed wide variations in application of his talent and level of energy during the 3-on-3 tournament and scrimmage, and that was honestly a little disappointing to see given how elite Lindstrom’s skill set is. The 6’2,” 187-pound Lindstrom graduates from the Frolunda Indians’ SHL champion team having played steady but unspectacularly in Sweden’s men’s league, and there is a lot to like about Lindstrom’s game.

Of any of the Red Wings’ defensive prospects not named Seider or Tuomisto, Lindstrom possesses the biggest “upside” because his passing and playmaking are professional, his shot is hard and fast, he sees the ice and anticipates both offensive and defensive scenarios professionally, and his pace is great. He’s going to have to play more consistently and work on his strength to realize his high potential, and the hiccups were a little disconcerting, but it’s summer, and the fall prospect tournament will determine where he starts this season.

#63 Alec McCrea: McCrea was “traded” from Team Howe to Team Lindsay for the scrimmage, and while he appeared mature as you would possibly hope as a 24-year-old defenseman signed by the Grand Rapids Griffins to an AHL/ECHL deal, the Cornell graduate stood at 6’3″ and 212 pounds of safe, steady and quiet for the most part. He’ll begin his pro career in Toledo.

#73 Malte Setkov: I’ve said before that I believe Setkov might be better-served as a forward, and I’m still not certain whether D or F is his ultimate path. Setkov had a much better scrimmage than he did a 3-on-3 tournament, playing with poise and grit as he un-physically but effectively cleared out the front of the net. He can pass like nobody’s business, he has a good shot, and he skates fantastically for a big man, but the 6’6,” 192-pound defenseman tends to leave you wanting more, especially in terms of consistency.

#87 Charles-Edouard D’Astous: D’Astous actually faded a bit during the scrimmage. The Griffins signed the Rimouski Oceanic captain to an AHL deal after he posted a 66-points-in-55-games campaign, and the 6’2,” 205-pound defenseman possesses the skill set that you would expect to back up that kind of point total–he passes superbly, he shoots the puck hard, he gaps up well and he skates like a pro. He’s got a stacked defense to crack in GR, though, and we will see whether he can do it come fall.

#97 Gustav Berglund: Berglund looked a little less raw during the scrimmage. 6’2″ and 194 pounds, the Wings used their 177th overall pick this past Saturday to draft the Frolunda Indians defender after a point-per-game season in the Under-18 league. He’s a right shot, he’s raw as can be, and there’s potential there, but he was quiet for the most part.

Goaltenders

#31 Jesper Eliasson: White Bread! The plain-spoken and plain-styled Eliasson, a 19-year-old from the Vaxjo Lakers’ under-20 system, uses his 6’3,” 209-pound frame to anticipate plays and make saves look routine, and in its own weird way, boring is pretty fun to watch. Eliasson has all the skills to block the puck like Brattstrom, Eliasson has a good glove and blocker, his pads seal the ice well, his stick hand is good and his focus is great. He’s going to try to crack the men’s team playing boring hockey this upcoming season.

#60 Carter Gylander: Gylander is at the other end of the spectrum, raw and unpolished but gigantic at 6’5″ and 172 pounds. Gylander reaches for pucks instead of getting his whole body in front of them, and his excellent glove and blocker hands allow him to get away with doing so at the Alberta Junior Hockey League level, but the 2019 draft pick is going to have to improve his anticipation to play pro hockey–which is a long time away from two Saturdays in June. Give him time.

#80 Keith Petruzzelli: For Petruzzelli, time is of the essence. The massive 6’6,” 185-pound netminder is still skin and bones going into his junior year at Quinnipiac, and the lanky goalie with the excellent technique needs to crank it up to eleven to finally earn and keep a starter’s spot at the NCAA level. He’s still got all the fundamental tools to play professional hockey in an excellent glove and blocker, fine stick and good pads and an upright body, but he tends to drop to his knees by default and get lured into letting in high shots. He’s going to have to sort out his game in a hurry as a 22-year-old who needs to make a leap. I hope he can do it!

That’s five days’ worth of development camp, and probably an 80-hour week spent with a day to recover before unrestricted free agency hits on Monday and Tuesday. This was an exhausting, sometimes infuriating time, but I love doing what I’m doing and I am proud to be able to be the fans’ voice at the rink. I hope that I’m back to work full-time and I hope that I can continue to generate more content going forward.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

3 thoughts on “Impressions from the Red and White Game on the fifth and final day of the Wings’ summer development camp ’19”

  1. Do you ever worry that you are too optimistic about these guys? For fun people should go back and see what was written about Smith, Kindl, Sproul, etc…Not long ago you raved about Givani Smith and Axel Holmstrom and a bunch of the 2017 draft class that have already been cut loose. 90% of these guys won’t make the NHL.

  2. These are prospects from all rounds of the draft playing against unsigned, undrafted major junior and college kids in a short offseason development and skills camp.

    Of course the vast majority aren’t going to make it as guys who even get an audition in the NHL.

    It’s a chance to get an up close look at them and hear some tentative, provisional impressions.

    That’s all – and it’s still pretty interesting.

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