The Detroit Red Wings’ prospects advanced to the championship game of their prospect tournament for the second year in a row, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospects 7-4.
The 2-0-and-1 Red Wings can win the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup by defeating the 2-and-1 Dallas Stars (Dallas defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 on Monday night) in Tuesday’s championship game. Tuesday’s game starts at 5 PM EDT, and it will air on Fox Sports GO and the Red Wings’ YouTube channel.
If you wish to watch the Red Wings-Leafs game in its entirety, it’s available on the Wings’ YouTube channel…
While the Maple Leafs’ website posted a 4:13 highlight clip:
The Red Wings scored the game’s final five goals to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-4 Monday at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City to earn the championship contest berth.
Tuesday’s title game against Dallas starts at 5 p.m. at Centre Ice.
Chase Pearson logged a hat trick, scoring all three in the five unanswered goals spanning the final 20 minutes.
Toronto led 4-2 before Pearson scored off a Moritz Seider power-play assist with 1:18 left in the second period. Troy Loggins scored his second of the game 1:10 later off an Elmer Soderblom helper.
Pearson, who ended with four points and leads all Prospect Tournament scorers going into Tuesday’s game, tacked on two more at 7:17 and 18:43 of the third, with Joe Veleno’s empty-netter sewing up the win with 32 ticks remaining.
Loggins and Taro Hirose had Detroit’s first two goals and Sean Romero made 24 saves.
Toronto’s goals came from Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, Teemu Kivihalme (two) and Nicholas Robertson. Ian Scott had 27 saves.
MLive’s Ansar Khan also wrote a game recap…
Pearson, Detroit’s fifth-round pick in 2015 from the University of Maine, started his team’s rally from a 4-2 deficit by scoring a power-play goal with 1:18 remaining in the second period.
Troy Loggins, who opened the scoring, notched his second goal of the game with eight seconds to play in the period to tie it.
The Red Wings scored three unanswered goals in the third. Pearson snapped the tie with the eventual game-winner at 7:17. He completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal and Joe Veleno capped the scoring with another empty-netter, his fifth goal in three games.
Pearson had two goals in 10 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins late last season after his junior year at Maine ended. The Griffins signed Loggins out of Northern Michigan late last season.
Sean Romeo stopped 24-of-28 shots for his second win in a row. Filip Larsson, the team’s top goaltending prospect, is sidelined with a minor groin injury.
Defenseman Moritz Seider, Detroit’s top pick this year, and right wing Givani Smith each contributed a pair of assists.
The Toronto Sun’s Terry Koshan offered the Leafs’ take on the game…
The Leafs’ designs on the championship game at the tournament at Centre Ice looked good initially on Monday night, as Toronto built a 4-2 lead on the Detroit Red Wings before the second period was four minutes old.
The Leafs didn’t score again, however, giving up five consecutive goals including two with goalie Ian Scott on the bench in favour of an extra skater in the final couple of minutes of the third, losing 7-4.
Toronto on Tuesday afternoon will play the Columbus Blue Jackets for third place, while the Wings will meet the Dallas Stars in the final.
“Despite the result, I thought it was our best game of the tournament,” Keefe said. “We made some mistakes at bad times that cost us both from some of the execution on the ice and myself on the bench.
“That’s tough to swallow, but it’s all part of it and I thought our guys really worked and thought we deserved to get at least one in the third period, but it didn’t fall for us.”
Defenceman Teemu Kivihalme, impressing yet again, scored two goals for the Leafs. Der-Arguchintsev scored for the second game in a row and Nick Robertson ripped a shot past Wings goalie Sean Romeo, giving Robertson four goals in three games.
Of note from DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji’s “trending” recap:
Alec Regula/Moritz Seider/Gustav Lindstrom: Just when Alec Regula was getting in the swing of things, playing in the top pair with Seider and getting a ton of ice time, he suffered a bruising hit from Toronto forward Giorgio Estephan at 7:50 of the first period. Regula appeared to try to grab his stick but had trouble, eventually making his way slowly to the bench. He did not play for the rest of the game, which meant the Wings were down to five defensemen. The bulk of those minutes went to Seider, who was already playing a lot, and Gustav Lindstrom. Lindstrom started the game on the second pair with fellow Swede Gustav Berglund.
Quotable: “It’s hard to play with five ‘D,’ but I thought we played well. We had too many turnovers in the first and second, in the third it was better, so that made it easier for us (defensemen). So, yeah it was better in the third. (Seider’s) a really skilled player, moves the puck well, a high hockey IQ, he moves his feet well, so he’s a really good player. It’s fun to be out there with him.” — Lindstrom
I posted a set of audio interviews post-game, and the Red Wings offered some video of their own:
“It feels good to beat them.”
Post game following tonight’s 7-4 win over Toronto.@22CPearson@Tarzy17@jveleno91@Glindstroom
Coach Simon pic.twitter.com/yy9xgnI2aG— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) September 10, 2019
WXYZ’s Brad Galli also took note of the Wings’ exploits…
Taro Hirose and Moritz Seider scored to help the Red Wings beat the Maple Leafs, 7-4 and advance to the prospects tournament title game in Traverse City.
The Red Wings fell behind 4-2 before scoring five unanswered goals. pic.twitter.com/ShIBU8we5u— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 10, 2019
As well as, well, this:
Update: The Traverse City 9&10 News posted a clip as well:
Detroit had to win playing with only 5 defensemen as Alec Regula got leveled mid-way through the first period (Concussion protocol? Coach Ben Simon wouldn’t confirm anything), and while the Wings went 1-for-3 on the power play, it was a combination of strong secondary scoring (Chase Pearson and Troy Loggins are not your top candidates to score multiple-goal efforts) and strong play from the Wings’ key players (Seider was tremendous in addition to posting 2 assists; Givani Smith also had 2 assists, and Taro Hirose and Joe Veleno [empty-net] also scored) yielded the ability to rally from a 4-2 deficit despite sometimes wonderful and sometimes slightly shaky goaltending from Sean Romeo, who stopped 24 of 28 shots.
There was also a not-inconsequential line shift later in the game: for the 3rd period, Filip Zadina was moved off the top line with Taro Hirose and Joe Veleno, instead playing with Givani Smith and Chase Pearson. Jarid Lukosevicius, a free agent invite, was promoted to Zadina’s spot.
On defense, after Regula exited with an injury (concussion protocol?), Moritz Seider and Gustav Lindstrom were out there for what seemed like every other shift, with Gustav Berglund, Charle-Edouard D’Astous and Alec McCrea serving as the “other defensive pair,” usually paired with one of Seider or Lindstrom.
Keeping in mind that the Red Wings’ prospects are playing in a short tournament in which 18-to-24-year-olds are competing against one another, in an environment likened most regularly to the World Junior Championship, not a regular-season NHL game, nor a summertime scrimmage, here are my observations regarding the players who participated in tonight’s game.
#67 Taro Hirose: Hirose, it could be argued, might not even be going at 100% during this tournament, but he scored a goal and stands with a solid 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points over the course of 3 games played. He’s only posted a single shot, however, and as much as I understand that the 5’10,” 160-pound winger is a playmaker…He’s left me expecting more as part of what really is an “All-Star” line, and he’s left me expecting more because he is a 23-year-old playing among generally younger competition.
All of that being said, Hirose has been superb overall, and if he’s on cruise control, 85% of Taro Hirose’s ability still stands out as a star among his peers and as someone whose potential is that of a 40-to-50-point producer at the NHL, going at 100%.
#90 Joe Veleno: Veleno’s hustle is a little more evident because his skating is elite and he plain old hauls ass out there. The 6’1,” 191-pound center has posted 5 goals on a team-leading 14 shots (tied with Chase Pearson for the team lead, that is), and on a line that tries to deke, dangle, regroup, deke, dangle, regroup and give up prime scoring chances for the sake of creating prettier plays, Veleno has been the “All-Star” who remembers most regularly that his job is to lead by scoring.
He’s also done a superb job defensively, winning faceoffs, coming back into the defensive zone to help bail out his defensemen, fellow forwards, and anybody else who needs a swift kick in the rear; just as importantly, he’s getting physical from time to time, and that’s great to see, because he will engage and keep himself engaged when the level of competition gets gritty out there.
#11 Filip Zadina: Zadina is not having the prospect tournament that he envisioned, and goodness knows, he’s sure as hell got the vision to do great things. Zadina has 5 assists and 12 shots on net, but if it’s frustrating to watch Taro Hirose cruise out there, it’s more frustrating to watch Zadina appear to be working his ass off at 110% effort to only turn away from the net when he’s got a fine opportunity to score because it might not be aesthetically pleasing enough, or because he can set up Veleno or Hirose instead. At 6′ and 196 pounds, there’s no question of a lack of near-elite speed, tremendous, tremendous hands and stickhandling, great vision, all the dekes and dangles and deception you could hope for…the dude can play like a star-to-superstar player, but he’s still stuck on visions of scoring one-timers from “his spot” at the right wing faceoff dot, and he’s not as good as Alex Ovechkin, so he can’t just stop at one spot on the ice and make goalies bend to his will.
He needs to maximize his efficiency by playing simpler, smarter hockey, not getting so damn frustrated with himself, and his demotion to the third line was a message sent on that behalf by a coach that knows Zadina frustrates easily.
#75 Troy Loggins*: Loggins is a Grand Rapids Griffins signing who’s played in 2 of 3 games, and he’s got 2 goals thanks to Monday night’s 2-shot effort. The Northern Michigan University graduate stands at 5’9″ and 161 pounds, but Loggins ripped two lovely shots through Leafs goalie Ian Scott, and he busted his ass up and down the ice, skating hard and trying to keep up with bigger, stronger opponents. This is what you want to see from a 24-year-old forward who needs to knock some players ahead of him on the depth chart off their perches to start his career in the AHL instead of the ECHL. It’s just one game, but it’s a good start for Loggins.
#78 Gregor MacLeod*: I have zero complaints about the Grand Rapids Griffins-signed graduate of the Drummondville Voltigeurs. The 6,’ 183-pound MacLeod has played up to his billing as a QMJHL star despite having posted an assist and 5 shots. MacLeod is durable, he wins faceoffs, he skates well and he’s been utterly responsible and reliable as the Wings’ resident second-line center, laying among a varying list of wingers alongside Ryan Kuffner.
#56 Ryan Kuffner: Kuffner has given the Wings something to think about thanks to a combination of excellent effort and very, very good skill, and the free agent signing from Princeton is trying to upset the apple cart and earn an NHL spot instead of an AHL one by turning heads during the prospect tournament. So far, so good; he’s posted 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points in 3 games played, tying him for second on the team in scoring. He’s a natural worker bee whose skating might be a little choppy, but is efficient; he rags the puck excellently well and wins stick battles with that 6’1,” 195-pound frame, and while he passes (well) more than he shoots, he’s got 2 goals on 3 shots. I don’t think his ceiling is as high as Hirose’s, but Kuffner is one to watch because he’s a strong prospect whose work ethic out-strips his talent level.
#48 Givani Smith “A”: Givani Smith is taking the bull by the horns in terms of utilizing the prospect tournament to gain traction on the Griffins’ roster. Smith is viewed by many as a fourth-line enforcer, but the 6’2,” 206-pound winger wants to be something more at a still-young 21 years of age, and his goal and 3 assists, 13 shots and +3 all tell the tale of a player who is working an angle toward increasing his role. If Smith is to become a “poor man’s Tyler Bertuzzi,” or at least a forechecking forward who can occasionally fight, as opposed to a checking forward who can occasionally take a bad penalty, he’ll have to replicate his fine prospect tournament performance when main camp comes.
#46 Chase Pearson “A”: Pearson is just turning pro at 22, and he’s delivered exactly the kind of prospect tournament performance necessary to wrestle free one of the third-or-fourth-line-center’s spots in Grand Rapids. Pearson’s hat trick and team-leading 6 points, on 4 goals and 2 assists and a team-tying shot lead of 14, are the accomplishments one would expect of a near-point-per-game producer at the NCAA level, as well as a 2-year team captain. So Pearson has lived up to expectations and exceeded them, in no small part thanks to dutiful defensive play, strong checking, many faceoff wins and a hard edge to a clean game. Pearson will earn his money as a defensive center, but when you can dazzle among your peers, and you “do the thing,” you earn your just due.
#76 Jarid Lukosevicius*: Like Gregor MacLeod, Lukosevicius is a Grand Rapids Griffins-contracted player, and like Loggins, he’s a college grad. The Denver Pioneers graduate stands only 5’10” and 185 pounds, but he’s been an asset to his team, with 2 goals, 2 assists and enough of a responsible and sound two-way performance that he spent a period not looking out of place alongside Hirose and Veleno in the 3rd period. Ultimately, MacLeod is fighting for an AHL spot over an ECHL one, but he and MacLeod have stood out as particularly polished and durable, so they’ve played in every game, and may play big roles in the Wings’ attempts to win a championship.
#79 Thomas Casey**: Casey is a sentimental favorite of mine because the free agent invite is all of 5’8″ and 185 pounds soaking wet, but is full of hustle. The mighty mite blazes up the wing and grinds upon his opponents as best as he is able, and his workmanlike defensive abilities are noticeable despite the fact that he’s bumped around as someone who’s, well, small. It’s fun to watch him play. I have no idea if the Wings, who have a litany of small forwards available to them among their prospects, are considering throwing an AHL or ECHL deal at the kid, but I do know that he’s busting ass and taking names.
#85 Elmer Soderblom: The 18-year-old Soderblom is remarkably raw in terms of his shift-to-shift performance, or at least he has been over games 2 and 3 of the prospect tournament. On Monday, the 6’7,” 220-pound center sometimes looked like a 6’7,” 220-pound behemoth who can rag the puck around the perimeter to generate offensive chances, and sometimes he looked like a scarecrow of a forward who could be easily bumped off the puck or bumped away from battles for said puck. The good news is that he’s only 18 and has a ways to grow in terms of size and strength, and as a Frolunda Indians prospect, he’ll be heading back to one of the best prospect-producing organizations in the world.
#88 Chad Yetman**: Yetman dialed back into the roster despite a so-so performance in his first game, and Yetman was at least better in his second outing. The free agent invite from the OHL’s Erie Otters stands at 5’11” and 176 pounds, and he’s got the speed and hands to make things happen, but he’s battling his way through a tournament in which the talent level is elite, and he’s had to fight tooth and nail to show flashes and flourishes of what are, at the OHL level, a scorer’s talents.
#94 Alec Regula: I thought that the Red Wings’ chances of winning the game were absolutely fried when Regula got what is probably a concussion on a dirty hit that was uncalled by some very inconsistent ECHL refs…and that tells you what Alec Regula has done to establish himself as an integral part of the Red Wings’ prospect tournament roster. The 6’4,” 203-pound London Knights defender has played his role as a complementary defenseman to “rovers” absolutely perfectly. Regula’s goal is, of course, to prove that he does more than simply play really solid two-way defense next to more talented players–he wants to prove that he can score on his own and generate offense as part of a top pair of defenders…Thus far, Regula’s done nothing to suggest the contrary, and it will be very disappointing if a cheap hit sidelines the strong-skating, astutely-talented defenseman whose heads-up plays and communicative style have afforded Moritz Seider much of the time and space necessary to do his thing.
#53 Moritz Seider: And Moritz is a hell of a “roamer” and “rover,” isn’t he? Seider has 4 assists and a +4 over the course of 3 games played against players who are generally stronger and more experienced than he is. All of 18, the 6’4,” 207-pound Seider is nothing less than an elite defenseman in all senses of the term–as an excellent three-axis skater (forward, backward and laterally, the dude moves); as a passer and puck-lugger of the first order, who will rove around the ice and dart into the offensive zone on his own if he feels he has the best chance to make things happen himself; as a puck-distributing, heads-up defenseman whose vision is elite; as someone who possesses a hard, accurate shot; and as someone who can, surprisingly given his age and risk-taking abilities, defend darn well and hold his own physically. Seider’s going to have to go into training camp and replicate the kind of performances that have been on display for the world to see and Red Wings fans to get excited about at the prospect tournament, and I believe that he has the talent, tools and confidence to do just that. In the interim, after Regula got knocked out, Seider and Gustav Lindstrom were playing every other shift, and Seider absolutely thrived in what must have been a 25-to-28-minute night’s worth of ice time. If he can simplify his game only slightly, and place himself in slightly better positions to not get hit as much, he’s going to be fine if he ends up in the AHL this season.
#97 Gustav Berglund: Berglund acquitted himself fairly well when the Wings went down a defenseman, and that’s good to see given that the 6’2,” 194-pound Frolunda prospect is still growing into his body and is still just at the talent-and-maturity level necessary to keep his head above water in a tournament like this. Berglund communicates well, plays a two-way game and displays strong skating and puck-handling skills–top-four material at least–and the right-shot defenseman has good vision and poise, but the physical aspect of this tournament has been tough on him, and he was better when he was paired with stay-at-home Alec McCrea than he was with Lindstrom.
#28 Gustav Lindstrom: Lindstrom has 1 goal and is an ugly -4, but Lindstrom has perhaps displayed the most improvement from games 1 to 3 of the tournament. Regula’s injury was something of a sink-or-swim moment for Lindstrom, whose tentativeness in a North American-sized rink and at a North American level of hockey had been his Achilles’ heel. To his credit, the 6’2,” 187-pound Lindstrom swam like a dolphin, gobbling up minutes mostly alongside Moritz Seider, occasionally having to cover up for the German, and occasionally making Seider cover up as Lindstrom made a few daring rushes of his own to help generate offense. Lindstrom is an excellent skater (again, on that three-axis model), and his hockey IQ in terms of his vision, his anticipation and his understanding of the game are at professional levels already; his body needs to catch up a bit, and he needs more pro experience, but his skill set is superb, with underrated and top-notch passing, playmaking, shooting and defensive skills. He’s got a great stick (like Seider) and he can poke check the puck away from opponents in flight, and, like Seider, his gap control is excellent and without fear due to his pro season spent with the Frolunda Indians. He simply puts himself in bad spots and gets overpowered from time to time, and again, like Seider, simplifying his game will help it improve in all aspects. If Moritz Seider is a 9-to-10 level prospect, Lindstrom is an 8.
#86 Charle-Edouard D’Astous*: D’Astous, an AHL signing who scored more than a point per game in the QMJHL, has 3 assists in 3 games, but the most impressive part of the 6’2,” 205-pound defenseman’s game for me wasn’t his overall play–which was inconsistent at times absent a regular defensive partner in his 3rd game of the tournament–but it was instead the moments I started grumbling to myself about the Wings having hemmed themselves into the defensive zone only to watch D’Astous make a simple, deliberate play that saved a goal against. The QMJHL defender isn’t supposed to be that good, mostly with his stick, at this level yet, but here he is, making sick stick saves, and given the fact that he’s got more than enough talent on his hands as a superb-skating heads-up defenseman who posted 66 points in 55 games, and there’s enough to make you raise your eyebrow regarding some possible NHL potential down the line, with the proper seasoning and development.
#63 Alec McCrea, D*: Another Grand Rapids Griffins signing, the 6’3,” 212 graduate of Cornell does exactly what you want a 24-year-old turning-pro defender to do: he defends damn well. Big, heavy and steady, McCrea made Gustav Berglund look two years older and two skate sizes bigger, McCrea steadied D’Astous, and while he didn’t play much with Seider, he steadied Lindstrom, too. Given the likelihood that McCrea will spend most of his season in Toledo, that’s all you can ask of the defenseman–to be as big an asset as he has been.
#68 Sean Romeo**: Romeo stopped 24 of 28 shots on Monday, and his 3.50 goals-against average and .851 save percentage are not elegant, but he’s gotten the job done of back-stopping the Wings to two big wins, and when you’ve simply invited a 24-year-old graduate of Ohio State who’s got a contract with another pro team in the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, well, stealing the show is what you hope the 6’1,” 172-pound butterfly goalie can do. Romeo is average-sized by today’s standards, and his wingspan is not large, nor is his butterfly, but he’s done an excellent job of using an efficient, understated butterfly style to make hard saves look easy. His glove is excellent, his blocker hand is very good, he’s got quick knees and toes, he boots rebounds into lesser-danger areas and he stickhandles passably well; he is square to the shooter most of the time, and when he gets swimming, he has a strong sense of position and where he needs to get to in order to stifle wraparounds and tap-ins. He’s not elite and he’s not perfect by any means, but he’s mature and seasoned, and when you combine that with a strong work ethic and lots of self-belief, you get a 2-and-0 goalie.
#36 Kaden Fulcher: Fulcher may or may not be tapped on the shoulder for the championship game despite Romeo’s efforts, and if the 6’3,” 182-pound netminder is deemed ready to start, Fulcher is going to have to produce one of his best starts in order for the Red Wings to win. Fulcher is big, superbly-talented as a hybrid butterfly-and-battling goaltender, but there are moments when his focus is just a little off, or his positioning is just shy of perfect, and squeakers get through what is otherwise an excellent goaltender’s skill set. Fulcher’s flourishing glove, battling blocker, tremendous toes and excellent stick abilities are all evident, as is good positioning, but he’s got to squeeze those holes tight, and more ECHL experience will do that.
#38 Filip Larsson, G: Larsson’s injury left me feeling like Alec Regula’s did regarding the Red Wings’ defense. The Wings won’t rush back the 6’2,” 181-pound prospect from his sore groin, and that’s wise, because Larsson is probably the organization’s most talented goaltending prospect, signed or unsigned. The 21-year-old is impeccably skilled and both confident and mature in his abilities as a superbly-positioned butterfly netminder, and as he continues to reach less and use his excellent glove, blocker, stick, legs and toes and superb chest-set positioning to steer the puck into him, he’ll get better and better.
#42 Mathieu Bizier, C**: The Wings invited the Gatineau Olympiques center to the tournament because the 6’2,” 187-pound forward was passed over in his draft year despite posting 27 points in 35 games in the Q, but the good-skating center has looked a little above his physical level in the tournament. He does have an assist to his credit.
#62 Cody Morgan, LW**: Morgan, a 5’11,” 183-pound winger, posted 30 points in 30 games with the Flint Firebirds last season, and the OHL forward did display strong skating and an offensive flourish in his only game, but he was not effective enough to earn a second straight game.
#80 Anthony Popovich, G**: Popovich is in camp as a practice goaltender, and the 6’1,” 183-pound Guelph Storm goalie has done a dutiful job of stopping pucks in practice as he attempts to raise his save percentage from .900.
#87 Marc-Olivier Duquette, D**: I liked what I saw from the 6’4,” 205-pound invite from the Drummondville Voltigeurs–he was steady, he was safe, and he was big–but the Wings chose to give Gustav Berglund a second chance over playing two stay-at-home defensemen on the third pair.
#89 Owen Robinson, RW**: The 6,’ 170-pound Sudbury Wolves winger had an up-and-down game against St. Louis, so he watched his teammates play as a scratch on Monday night.
#98 Owen Lalonde, D**: Lalonde had a bit of a bumpy game against St. Louis, holding his own, but only just as a free agent invite from Guelph who posted 41 points in 61 games. He’s got offensive talent, but he’s not physically developed enough to keep up with the tournament, or wasn’t in the game that I watched.
Note: * = Grand Rapids Griffins signing, ** = Free agent invite.
I hope you have enjoyed my prospect assessments and the rest of my blog coverage.
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