The Detroit Red Wings’ prospects rallied from a 4-1 deficit to tie the Chicago Blackhawks’ prospects on Friday night, but the Wings weren’t quite able to close the deal, and they lost 5-4 to Chicago in overtime.
If you’ve got two-and-a-half hours, you can watch the game yourself as the Wings made it available on YouTube:
without a statistical site to track player stats any more (I’m not sure what happened in terms of the coverage of the tournament by PointStreak) [edit: there IS a box score up on Pointstreak /end edit], you’ll have to settle for the summaries of the Traverse City Record-Eagle’s James Cook…
Brandon Hagel scored 43 second into overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Friday’s opening night of the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City.
Detroit scored first on a Ryan Kuffner power-play goal from Moritz Seider, but Chicago answered with four straight goals — by Mikael Hakkarainen, Kirby Dach, MacKenzie Entwistle and Jack Ramsay.
The Red Wings responded with three second-period goals, two from Joe Veleno and one by Jarid Lukosevicius.
Alexis Gravel stopped 27 shots for Chicago, while Detroit’s Kaden Fulcher had 19 saves.
Detroit plays St. Louis at 3:30 p.m. in Saturday’s games at Centre Ice Arena.
And MLive’s Ansar Khan:
Joe Veleno scored a pair of goals to spark the Detroit Red Wings’ comeback from an early three-goal deficit Friday, but Brandon Hagel scored 43 seconds into overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-4 victory in the opener of the NHL Prospects Tournament at Centre I.C.E. in Traverse City.
Ryan Kuffner opened the scoring at 3:10 of the first period with the first of the Red Wings’ three power-play goals. Defenseman Moritz Seider, the team’s top pick this year, assisted.
The Blackhawks answered with three goals to lead 4-1 after one period.
Jarid Lukosevicius started the Red Wings’ three-goal second-period rally by scoring on the power play at 10:04.
Veleno then scored unassisted at even strength (12:21) and on the power play from linemates Filip Zadina and Taro Hirose at 18:47.
Veleno, the 30th overall pick in 2018, led all players with six shots on goal.
ChicagoBlackhawks.com’s Carter Baum also offered some pertinent observations…
The goal train came to a halt in the second period as the Blackhawks found themselves down a man on four different occasions. On the night, the Red Wings went 3-for-5 on the power play – the biggest factor in the game getting to OT.
In the opening 90 seconds of the first, Chad Krys was called for a tripping minor that the Wings capitalized on before Chicago rattled off four straight.
The middle frame saw the physicality pick up as McKay (roughing) and Boqvist (slashing) forced the Hawks to kill off 90 seconds of a two-man advantage with two key stops from Alexis Gravel, only to see a flubbed shot from the point elude the netminder through traffic near the end of Boqvist’s penalty. A Liam Coughlin tripping minor led to Joe Veleno’s second of the night to complete the comeback heading into the third tied at 4-4.
As did the Chicago Sun-Times’ Ben Pope:
Alexis Gravel played better than the stats show. Gravel’s .879 save percentage — 29 saves on 33 shots — doesn’t look great, but he was one of the Hawks’ best players Friday. The 2018 sixth-round pick made an unreal down-and-out save in the final minute to get the Hawks to overtime, the most stunning out of a number of quality stops.
Boqvist vs. Seider should be a fun battle in years to come. Two of the better defensive prospects in the league went head-to-head Friday, with Boqvist’s OT winner helping him come out on top, but Moritz Seider — the Wings’ fifth overall selection in June — looking incredibly poised and talented as well. Even though the rival NHL clubs only play twice a year now, matchups between the two budding star defensemen will be exciting to follow in the decade ahead.
(I thought Boqvist scored, too, but the refs deemed that Hagel tipped Boqvist’s shot).
I posted post-game audio clips of comments made by Joe Veleno, Moritz Seider and coach Ben Simon, and the Wings posted a condensed video version:
Late into the night, the Red Wings’ website also posted Dana Wakiji’s recap, and we’ll stick to the story regarding the Red Wings’ power play:
Power play: In the first game of a short tournament, you wouldn’t necessarily expect a team’s power play to be ready to go out of the gate. But after the morning skate, Zadina said that it actually was working well in practice and seemed to be very good. He wasn’t kidding as three of the Wings’ four goals came with the man-advantage. Kuffner scored the first one, which was the first goal of the game, at 3:10 of the first period, assisted by Seider. The second helped kickstart the Detroit comeback as Lukosevicius cut Chicago’s lead to 4-2 at 10:04 of the second period. Charle-Edouard D’Astous and Kuffner picked up the assists. Then Veleno’s game-tying goal came from the left doorstep on a quick pass from Zadina at 18:47 of the second. Hirose got the second assist as he had a nice entry on the play. None of the Blackhawks goals came on the power play as they went 0-for-3. The Wings finished 3-for-5.
Quotable: “Power play was good. I thought our guys, for the amount of time we worked on it, they executed pretty well, got pucks to the net pretty well and obviously the results came.” — Simon
As far as my own observations are concerned, I’m feeling a little redundant at present, but the Red Wings practice at 9:30 this morning, and here’s hoping that the lost sleep I’m about to incur is worth your time.
On a player-by-player basis, here are my observations of the players who participated in tonight’s game between the Red Wings and Blackhawks–keeping in mind that the Red Wings as a team were quite poor during the first period, only to rally on both team and individual bases over the course of the next 40 minutes’ worth of play:
#67 Taro Hirose “A”: Everybody here is being assessed based upon their play against their peers, essentially, in 18-to-24-year-olds, and Hirose, at 23, was very visibly chosen to step up and set an example by wearing an “A” on his chest. After a bumpy first period, Hirose flexed his skill set, and while he is neither the biggest, strongest, nor fastest player on the ice, he may be the most subtly talented player on the ice. Hirose excels at sleight-of-hand plays, using his anticipation and vision to get to pucks first, find a surprising amount of physical leverage for a 5’10,” 160-pound player, and then take pucks and distribute them to their proper places, if not take a well-placed shot of his own. Hirose excels at puck possession, and he is at times too unselfish with the puck. Whether he is able to continue to display 50-point potential is going to be up to him, but the skill set and determination are evident in his game.
#90 Joe Veleno: Veleno centered what I nicknamed the “All-Star Line” (it was All-Star for all the wrong reasons in the 1st period, and damn good after that) and scored two goals because he is, without a doubt, the best skater among the Wings’ forwards, if not the best skater on the team. The 6’1,” 191-pound graduate of the Drummondville Voltigeurs is only 19, but possesses maturity beyond his years in terms of his play. He’s a superb passer, a sniper despite his lack of flare (he’s no swashbuckler), he wins faceoffs, grinds out battles for pucks with physical determination, his positioning is superb in all three zones, and there is legitimate star potential within him. He scored two goals out of determination and will as much as talent, and that’s awesome to see.
#11 Filip Zadina: Filip Zadina needs to GET OUT OF HIS “SPOT” and out of his comfort zone to truly excel at the pro level. Zadina is the best goal-scorer on the Wings’ team by far, but on a night that, as one scout said, his “sights were off,” Zadina continued to try and force goals to be scored from his patented shooting position at the right wing faceoff dot, or at least within the right wing faceoff circle. On Veleno’s 4-4 goal, Zadina got chased out of his “spot,” and suddenly, he was a dynamic skater, dangling and dekeing his way behind the net and finding Veleno with a seeing-eye backhand pass. Zadina possesses more than enough skill, from his skates up to his hands to his head, to become an elite scorer, but he’s still got a lot of QMJHL-style, “I learned to score from one spot on the ice and that is all I have to do” One Trick Pony-ness about him, and the understandable “hot dog” tendencies have to be weaned away from him.
#48 Givani Smith “A”: Smith is a player looking to inhabit a role that only Smith himself can find. Whether he can become the Tyler Bertuzzi-style agitating winger that Darren McCarty believes he sees in the pugnacious Smith (he “almost got in a fight” a couple of times, and Smith is a physical, edgy player) remains to be seen, but he earned the “A” on his jersey by doing what he’s done throughout his junior and now very young pro career–by continually challenging himself to self-improve. At 6’2″ and 206 pounds, the 21-year-old Griffin has grit and jam in spades and actually skates, forechecks and digs-and-distributes pucks quite well. He’s just got more to give, and more to achieve.
#78 Gregor MacLeod*: MacLeod is the first of a group of Grand Rapids Griffins-signed players who is hoping to earn an AHL job instead of starting his career with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, whose coaching staff are intently watching the prospect tournament. MacLeod had a pretty good first game, and the 21-year-old Drummondville Voltigeurs graduate looked quite capable as a 2nd-line center, albeit without some of the offense that he displayed during his 84-point QMJHL season. Good skater, responsible defensively, wins draws, has some edge to him, and plays bigger than his 6,’ 183-pound size. Whether he can impress his potential coach in Ben Simon is up to him.
#56 Ryan Kuffner: Despite having opened the scoring himself, Kuffner suffers from the sin of being too unselfish. His tendency to dish fine passes to his teammates, even at the expense of his own scoring opportunities, will probably yield an AHL start for the 23-year-old free agent signing (again, I say this despite the fact that he had a goal and an assist). Kuffner is not overly big despite his listed 6’1,” 195-pound size, and he tends to play a bit of a small man’s game, attempting to anticipate and react instead of taking the physical initiative himself. Like Hirose, he possesses underrated skating and passing skills, but his scoring instincts are muted by his desire to find his teammates’ best shots instead of taking his own. He inhabits a talent level that is somewhere between that of a grinding forward and that of a second-line player, and he needs to gain an edge there. All he has to do is shoot, and keep passing when and only when he can’t generate a better scoring chance himself.
#75 Troy Loggins*: Loggins is another Griffins-or-Walleye-bound signing, a 5’9,” 161-pound speedster who raced up and down the ice and did a passable-to-good job in terms of acquitting himself with and without the puck. Loggins posted 40 points in his final season at Northern Michigan University, and he’s got an uphill battle as a small man with big scoring aspirations.
#46 Chase Pearson “A”: Pearson is turning pro after a very good three seasons at the University of Maine, including two in which he served as the team’s captain, and my only complaint regarding the supremely defensively responsible forward is that the 6’2,” 200-pound isn’t quite as “heavy” on his stick as he’s going to need to be to grind out pucks down low and lean on opponents in one-on-one puck battles. As he acclimates to the pro game, the self-proclaimed defensive center with some real darn solid offensive chops will begin to challenge players like Dominic Turgeon, Christoffer Ehn and Jacob de la Rose for one of the surprisingly hard-fought spots as a 3rd or 4th line forward in Detroit.
#76 Jarid Lukosevicius*: Lukosevicius did one thing that I noticed during the game, and he did it well–as he was dropping down to his knees thanks to a Blackhawks player’s check, the 24-year-old Griffins signing out of Denver chipped home an absolutely crucial 4-2 goal. Chip, bang, goal. The 24-year-old is 5’10” and 185, and averaged about 30 points per 40 NCAA games played with Denver.
#79 Thomas Casey**: If there is a player that turned my head despite his size, it is Thomas Casey. Standing a listed 5’8″ and 185 pounds, Casey was a pain in the fricking butt out there, doing a great job–of all things–partnering up with the gigantic Elmer Soderblom (all 6’7″ of him) to give the Red Wings a passable 4th line. Casey worked doggedly to separate pucks from Blackhawks and himself from his opponents, displaying good skating and a small freighter’s full of resolve. Good on the mini mite for playing past his billing.
#85 Elmer Soderblom: Soderblom had some shifts that were wildly inconsistent, but that’s to be expected when you’re an 18-year-old 6’7,” 220-pound behemoth. There are times that the Frolunda Indians prospect looks like a Hakan Andersson steal, charging up and down the ice with authority, handling the bump-and-grind like a pro and displaying good passing, shooting, playmaking and even checking skills…and there are times that he’s out of his element. He’s the definition of a raw, talented but unpolished prospect. A gem? Perhaps. Time will tell.
#88 Chad Yetman**: The other free agent in the forward lineup, Yetman looked more than a little out of his element at times. The Erie Otters scorer stands at 5’11” and 176 pounds, and there were times that he displayed flashes of his near-point-per-game potential at the OHL level, but most of the time, he got bumped around.
#94 Alec Regula: I wrote something which I hope will bite me in the butt someday in my notebook during the game (it will not surprise you to find that I am a compulsive note-taker): “Regula =/= elite.” As I watched the 6’4,” 203-pound defenseman sometimes bail Moritz Seider out of trouble during Seider’s first North American game, and sometimes make some very fine plays of his own, I wondered whether Regula, who plays for the powerhouse London Knights, will ultimately pan out to be a top-four defenseman. In London, he’s an integral part of the team, and on this prospect tournament team, Regula had a fine debut, displaying excellent skating skills, fine passing and shooting, great gap control and vision when defending and equal scope of understanding when setting up plays under physical pressure. He checks hard, too, and the West Bloomfield native was calm when Seider needed him to be…But is he more than a really solid #4 defenseman? I’m not quite sure.
#53 Moritz Seider: Moritz Seider was literally and figuratively all over the map during his first North American competitive game, skating up and down the ice like a wild, bucking bronco at times, jumping into the offense with what was truly reckless abandon and just making stuff happen on a consistent basis as he probably led the Wings’ defensemen in ice time. Seider played on the PP, on the PK (a bit), he got smoked in open ice by a Hawk, he tried to pick a fight with Kirby Dach, he was dashing, debonair and yet Germanly methodical as he displayed all the elite skills you would expect out of a 6th overall draft pick. The 6’4,” 207-pound Seider is an elite passer, playmaker and puck lugger, his shot is superb, his stick skills are great, his vision when both head-manning the rush and facing numerous opponents on defense, and there’s a real wild-card mentality to the dude. He’s a free-spirited gentleman, and a free spirit that’s played with professional men as a 17-year-old. More often than not, any arrogance or cockiness he displays is well-founded; when it’s not, however, he can fail spectacularly, so in that sense, he is also a raw prospect.
I guess what I’m saying is that, based upon the summer development camp and his first North American game, there is hope that the hype is real.
#86 Charle-Edouard D’Astous*: D’Astous got a lot better as the game progressed. There were times that he really looked out of his element and out of his comfort zone, especially in the first period, and I was thinking, “Uh oh, another QMJHL-scoring defenseman who can’t really defend.” By the second and third periods, most of my fears were allayed as the 6’2,” 205-pound AHL-contracted D’Astous looked more like a 21-year-old Q vet who can helm his team’s rush and make smart stick plays to poke pucks off of his opponents. He held his own physically as well.
#28 Gustav Lindstrom: Lindstrom is another player who is a bit of a puzzle to me, because he is both incredibly polished, having played a full season with the SHL champion Frolunda Indians, and he is incredibly raw in terms of his experience with North American-width rinks, North American-paced play, and North American-sized players. Lindstrom was one of many players to have a shitty start and rebound in a big way, and the 6’2,” 187-pound defender slowly but surely began to display his form as a playmaking defenseman whose skating forward, backward and laterally were second only to Seider’s, whose passing and playmaking were superb, and whose physical jam was underrated. Lindstrom is going to experience some growing pains in the AHL, and they may be painful to watch at times, but his top-four potential is very evident.
#97 Gustav Berglund: No bullshit in his game. That’s the best way I can describe the 18-year-old Frolunda Indians product, who was less than elegant at times and pretty damn composed at others. Still a very gangly 6’2″ and 187 pounds, Berglund did the best job of doing something that a lot of Wings players are good at–communicating with his teammates–and he and Alec McCrea formed a no-frills, no-fuss third defensive pairing. Yeah, he got burned at times, but as someone experiencing North American ice for the first time, he held his own.
#63 Alec McCrea*: McCrea is a Griffins signing who is 24 years of age, and he stands at 6’3″ and 212 pounds, so you’d expect him to play a physical defenseman’s game. That’s exactly what he displayed, and the big man did his best to adjust to the pace of near-professional hockey while helping an 18-year-old Swedish kid along the way. No fuss, no muss.
#36 Kaden Fulcher: Fulcher in the first period was at times a disaster, a goaltender who was letting pucks in through his five-hole, through his glove, his blocker, his toes, you name it, there were not only goals against but almost-goals-against that made me think, “Romeo is going in in the second period.” But coach Simon stuck with the ECHL sophomore, and the 6’3,” 182-pound Fulcher got a LOT better over the course of the second and third periods. Fulcher is a hybrid of a modern butterfly goaltender and an old-fashioned, Chris Osgood-style battling goalie, and when he is on, his blocker flashes out, his glove snags pucks out of the air, his toes make dramatic stops (I counted two just ridiculous opportunities that Fulcher toed away) and Fulcher’s combination of positioning and plain old determination yield an entertaining-to-watch athletic netminder doing his job. The problem is that there are still holes in his game, and still inconsistencies to be worked away over the course of playing time and maturation. The Toledo Walleye are going to have to consider sacrificing a win here or there to give Fulcher more of a concrete role behind Pat Nagle.
#68 Sean Romeo**: Romeo was brought in as a contracted free agent–he has a job with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones lined up–to help in case Filip Larsson wasn’t ready to go, and Larsson’s got a minor injury, so Romeo nearly got into the game on Friday. The 6’1,” 172-pound Ohio State grad doesn’t fill the net physically, but he plays a no-frills game that is sound and solid.
#38 Filip Larsson, G: When Larsson couldn’t go down in the butterfly on Friday morning, the Wings’ goalie coaches sat him down on the bench for a while, and then gently worked him back into skating drills, never affording him the opportunity to drop to his knees. He could have tweaked a knee, an ankle, a hip or a groin, but whatever it is, the Wings aren’t going to let a prized prospect suffer for the sake of a minor injury, so he was out, and Fulcher was in.
#42 Mathieu Bizier, C**: Bizier’s biggest achievement over the course of the summer was scoring a hat trick in the Red vs. White game at the Wings’ summer development camp. A 6’1,” 187-pound free agent invite from Gatineau may draw in yet.
#62 Cody Morgan, C**: Morgan is one of the Wings’ many small forwards, a 5’11” scoring dynamo who posted 33 points in 33 games with the Flint Firebirds after a mid-season trade from Windsor. Whether he can reproduce those scoring results at the prospect tournament remains to be seen.
#80 Anthony Popovich, G**: Popovich is a free agent invite from the OHL champs, the Guelph Storm, and the 6’1,” 182-pound netminder wins consistently, but wins consistently with a sub-par .900 save percentage, so he’s here to work on his game.
#87 Marc-Olivier Duquette, D**: I am very curious to see whether Duquette gets into a game. He’s a 6’4,” 204-pound defender from Veleno’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, and there is at least some potential to see a mobile, “heavy” defenseman dial into the lineup. Thus far, it appears that coach Simon wants to see potential employees instead of potential free agent signings, so both Duquette and his free agent teammates have to kick the door down and find a way to 1. Get into the lineup, by hook or crook; and 2. Shine like polished gems when they get in.
#89 Owen Robinson, LW**: The Sudbury Wolves forward posted 41 points in 61 games, and at 6′ and 170 pounds, he doesn’t tower over many players, and the free agent invite needs to channel a little Thomas Casey to get into the lineup.
#98 Owen Lalonde, D**: Lalonde is a teammate of Popovich’s from Guelph, where he posted 41 points, enough to raise the Wings’ eyebrows. At 6’1″ and 185 pounds, he is “average-sized” by today’s standards, so he’s going to have an uphill battle getting into a game.
Note: * = Grand Rapids Griffins signing, ** = Free agent invite.
I hope you have enjoyed my prospect assessments and the rest of my blog coverage.
If you’re willing to lend a hand to the still-not-paid-for trip to Traverse City, https://paypal.me/TheMalikReport is the place to go, and you can also email me at email@example.com for alternate means of assisting TMR’s survival.
Thank you for your time, your readership and your support.