I’ve been plugging David Pope in my prospect write-ups for some time now as the lanky University of Nebraska-Omaha winger has done a wonderful job of cranking up his offense during his senior season. Today, The Athletic’s Craig Custance wrote an article profiling Pope, discussing his evolution as a player through a lot of hard work, and discussing his future as well:
“As of right now, I’m 100 percent set on going to Detroit,” Pope told The Athletic on Monday.
There are a couple of reasons for that. For one, the Red Wings offer an option he couldn’t take if he waited until August to sign with an NHL team. When his college season is over, the Red Wings can sign him to play in the AHL this spring, potentially for a playoff run if Grand Rapids makes another one.
That’s valuable opportunity for a player who will be 24 years old at the start of training camp next season, or to put that in perspective, two years older than Dylan Larkin will be in camp. There’s likely an AHL stint ahead for Pope regardless and getting that taste in early has value. At least, that will be the Red Wings’ pitch.
“The ones who spend time in the American League right after college — it’s a great barometer for them to set where they need to be next fall,” [Wings assistant GM Ryan] Martin said. “It’s a league of men. It’s a pro league. Hopefully we’re a playoff team in Grand Rapids and he has the opportunity to come in and play games at the end of the year.”