The Detroit Red Wings’ prospects face the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (6 PM on Red Wings YouTube and Fox Sports GO); if the Wings win in regulation, they can advance to the championship game for the second straight season.
As stated in the morning skate interview post, Sean Romeo will start for the Red Wings in goal, and Moritz Seider told DetroitRedWings.com’s Arthur J. Regner that he’d prefer to play for Detroit or Grand Rapids ahead of Adler Mannheim at this point.
After today’s practice/morning skate, Mo Seider told me he was leaning towards staying in North America to play, either in #Detroit or Grand Rapids. Final call is the #RedWings he indicated. #NHLProspectsTournament— Arthur J. Regner (@ArthurJRegner) September 9, 2019
#RedWings Seider: “It’s probably not Germany anymore. I decided for myself probably staying in the States for a couple years now. First of all, it should be about making the team 100 percent. That’s why I’m here. (1/2)— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) September 9, 2019
#RedWings Seider: ” If that’s not possible, I think Detroit has a great AHL team. Grand Rapids is just two hours away. Maybe that’s the best way, stepping on the small ice.” (2/2)— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) September 9, 2019
All 27 players took par in a morning skate where the focus was puck retrieval and outlet passing down low in the defensive zone, at the defensive blueline and through center ice. Defensemen worked with Shawn Horcoff, Mike Knuble and coach Matt McDonald on laterally “walking the line” later in practice, and the Wings’ forwards practiced 2-on-1 rushes and shot-tipping as Sean Romeo got a lot of work in ahead of a critical start this evening.
Here’s the Red Wings’ roster for tonight:
#67 Taro Hirose–#90 Joe Veleno–#11 Filip Zadina
#75 Troy Loggins–#78 Gregor MacLeod–#56 Ryan Kuffner
#48 Givani Smith–#46 Chase Pearson–#76 Jarid Lukosevicius
#79 Thomas Casey–#85 Elmer Soderblom–#88 Chad Yetman
#94 Alec Regula–#53 Moritz Seider
#97 Gustav Berglund–#28 Gustav Lindstrom
#86 Charle-Edouard D’Astous–#63 Alec McCrea
#68 Sean Romeo
#36 Kaden Fulcher
#38 Filip Larsson, G
#42 Mathieu Bizier, F
#62 Cody Morgan, F
#80 Anthony Popovich, G
#87 Marc-Olivier Duquette, D
#89 Owen Robinson, F
#98 Owen Lalonde, D
In terms of individual player assessments, I’m going to keep it brief as tonight’s game is an early one.
Keep in mind that players with a * next to their names are Grand Rapids Griffins-contracted players; players with **’s next to their names are free agent try-outs.
11 Filip Zadina RW: Heading into tonight’s game, It would be great if Zadina scored a goal. The 6,’ 196-pound prospect phenom has registered 3 assists on Saturday and looked much more dynamic doing so, but Zadina is at his happiest when he scores goals, and getting a marker against the Maple Leafs would take a weight off his shoulders.
42 Mathieu Bizier C**: Free agent invite Mathieu Bizier played on Saturday, and had an assist on Gustav Lindstrom’s goal, but he’s not going tonight. The 6’1,” 187-pound Gatineau Olympiques center has been OK in limited action, but OK with good speed isn’t quite enough to earn him a spot in the lineup this evening.
46 Chase Pearson C: Pearson has been responsible and useful in a 3rd line center’s role, wearing an alternate captain’s “A” on his jersey as the dutiful and hard-working center grits and grinds upon opponents as a shut-down player. The 6’2,” 200-pound forward is ready to turn pro at 22.
48 Givani Smith LW: Smith has gotten better as the tournament progresses, registering a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (1G+1A+a fight) on Saturday and generally playing more like a pain in the ass who can do other things than just be a pain in the ass. At 6’2″ and 206 pounds, the AHL sophomore is trying to develop into a forechecking forward instead of simply a fourth-line enforcer, and he’s making strides toward his goal.
56 Ryan Kuffner RW: Kuffner duly noted that the Red Wings’ prospects may have big training camp goals, but for the moment, they’re focused on the prospect tournament alone. The 6’1,” 195-pound Kuffner has done a great job of posting points, registering a goal and an assist each night, and he’ll play on a line with Troy Loggins and Gregor MacLeod this evening, doing what he does best–playing dogged two-way hockey with an offensive flair.
62 Cody Morgan C**: Morgan, a free agent invite, played OK on Saturday, roaring up and down the ice, but the 5’11,” 183-pound Flint Firebirds center is not playing tonight because he got bumped around a bit on Saturday.
67 Taro Hirose LW: Hirose has done a fine job of displaying his strong offensive instincts over the course of two games played, but there’s another level for the 5’10,” 160-pound water bug to find in terms of scoring. 2 assists in 2 games is very solid for the forward with excellent anticipation and poise; posting more points as a 23-year-old playing against younger players would be very encouraging to see from a going-into-main-camp perspective.
75 Troy Loggins LW*: A Griffins-contracted player, Loggins draws back into the lineup because the 5’9,” 160-pound scorer from Northern Michigan University is fast and shifty. He’s going to have to be at his best physically against a rough-and-tumble Toronto team.
76 Jarid Lukosevicius RW*: Lukosevicius remains in the lineup because the 5’10,” 185-pound graduate of Denver has held his own physically and scored a pair of goals over the course of two games played. He’s a 24-year-old with the maturity necessary to do what he needs to do–show his rights-holding Grand Rapids Griffins that he’s more than a Toledo Walleye forward in the making.
78 Gregor MacLeod C*: One more Grand Rapids Griffins signing who’s in tonight’s lineup, MacLeod has acquitted himself well as a useful second-line center. The 6,’ 183-pound Drummondville Voltigeurs grad hasn’t displayed much of his point-plus-per-game form yet, but he’s been responsible in his end of the ice and has tolerated physical play quite well.
79 Thomas Casey C**: Casey draws back into the lineup despite his 5’8,” 185-pound size, mostly because his enthusiasm was incredibly evident on Friday. Casey is a speedster whose determination and will overcome his size, and his work ethic is superb. The free agent invite will play in his biggest game as a prospect this evening.
85 Elmer Soderblom LW: Soderblom looked a little out of his element as the 2nd line center on Saturday, but the massive 18-year-old has acquitted himself very well as a 6’7,” 220-pound behemoth with moments of puck-ragging opportunity and moments of adjustment to North American hockey’s pace. He’s incredibly raw, but quite smooth for his size.
88 Chad Yetman RW**: I felt that Yetman got bumped around on Friday, but he’s drawing back into the lineup because the Red Wings hope that the 5’11,” 176-pound scorer from Owen Sound can tap into his point-per-game OHL potential. He’s a free agent invite.
89 Owen Robinson LW**: Robinson had a bit of a rough game on Saturday, so the free agent invite out of Sudbury will sit tonight. The 6,’ 170-pound forward needs to add a little more meat on his bones.
90 Joe Veleno C: Veleno isn’t wearing an “A” on his jersey like Hirose, Smith or Pearson, but he’s been the team’s visible leader, racking up points and scoring clutch goals on a regular basis. The 6’1,” 191-pound QMJHL graduate is trying to parlay his tremendous prospect tournament performance into getting a leg up on his competition for a Red Wings roster spot in training camp, and, thus far, he’s done a fine job of separating himself from his competitors.
28 Gustav Lindstrom: The learning curve continues for Gustav Lindstrom as he’ll be paired with Gustav Berglund on the Wings’ second defensive pairing tonight. This experiment–if it works–should work quite well as Lindstrom is the older of the pair of right-handed Swedes, a 6’2,” 187-pound 21-year-old who’s making the North American jump, and Gustav has looked smart and scored a goal as he adjusts to North American hockey. Berglund communicates well, so the two superb skaters should compliment each other well.
53 Moritz Seider: Seider wants to play in North America if he can carve out such an opportunity for himself, and the 6’4,” 207-pound defender has done a damn fine job of separating himself from the pack as he looks to crack a crowded Griffins roster (at the very least). Dynamic, excellent-skating and free-flowing, Seider is a raw, wild horse of a puck-lugging, playmaking defenseman, and he will attempt to make a big impression against a massively-sized opponent tonight.
63 Alec McCrea*: McCrea, a Grand Rapids Griffins signing, draws back into the lineup because the 6’3,” 212-pound behemoth played incredibly steady hockey on Friday, and the Red Wings need their third pair to be defensively sound. At 24, McCrea possesses experience and maturity.
86 Charle-Edouard D’Astous*: McCrea will play alongside D’Astous, whose offensive chops have assuaged any defensive hiccups. D’Astous is still adjusting to the pro game after posting more than a point per game on the Rimouski Oceanic’s blueline, and the 6’2,” 205-pound defender can appear underpowered from time to time, but his offensive skill set is advanced, and the Red Wings need what D’Astous can provide.
87 Marc-Olivier Duquette**: Duquette had a very good game on Saturday, but the 6’4″ Drummondville Voltigeurs free agent invite shuffles out of the lineup for McCrea’s maturity instead.
94 Alec Regula D: Regula has looked excellent while trying to rein in Moritz Seider’s wild rushes and lack of a “side” on defense, and the defenseman who played alongside Edmonton’s Evan Bouchard has a significant amount of experience shepherding offensive defensemen. The exciting part of Regula’s game has been that the 6’4,” 203-pound defender does more than play with a physical flair. He’s got offensive abilities as well, and he really does a great job of head-manning and/or jumping into the rush without compromising himself defensively.
97 Gustav Berglund D: Berglund had an up-and-down game on Friday, but the 6’2,” 194-pound defenseman will be back in the lineup because he’s an excellent communicator and heads-up defenseman who moves the puck well.
98 Owen Lalonde D**: Lalonde is a good defenseman, but the 6’1,” 185-pound Guelph Storm defender got bumped around on Saturday, and he’ll sit against the gigantic Maple Leafs as a result.
36 Kaden Fulcher: Fulcher will have to look at tonight’s game, and his status as a back-up, as a challenge to continue to improve his game. The 6’3,” 182-pound “battling butterfly” goalie had a shaky Friday against the Blues, sat out Saturday, and now he’s going to have to redouble his efforts to battle his way back into the Wings’ crease. Talented but inconsistent, can he get the job done?
38 Filip Larsson: Larsson is at least taking part in practice and engaging in limited butterfly drills, so the soreness in the 6’2,” 181-pound netminder’s groin is subsiding, but he’ll be skating gingerly even going into training camp.
68 Sean Romeo**: Kudos to Romeo for grabbing the bull by the horns. The 24-year-old, ECHL-employed free agent invite has wrested control of the Red Wings’ cage from Kaden Fulcher by simply playing steady, efficient hockey, and the 6’1,” 172-pound graduate of Ohio State has played a matured, controlled butterfly game in which he makes easy saves look easy and hard saves look uncomplicated.
80 Anthony Popovich**: Popovich is merely here with the Wings as a practice goalie, but I’ve seen some improvement in the chest-first butterfly goaltender’s game over the course of three days’ worth of practices. The Guelph Storm goalie is trying to improve his save percentage, and he’s trying to find a more consistent form.
I hope you have enjoyed my prospect assessments and the rest of my blog coverage.
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