Impressions from the third day of the Red Wings’ summer development camp ’18

The third day of the Red Wings’ summer development camp is almost inevitably a day in which fatigue sets in, but the Wings’ prospects were plucky and ready-to-go on Thursday morning.

Griffins coach Ben Simon, Wings director of player development Shawn Horcoff and the slightly-dinged assistant director Daniel Cleary, sporting a couple of stitches above his right eyebrow (where he took a puck at the end of Wednesday’s sessions) built upon the first and second day’s worth of drills in front of both a packed house–fan turnout at the chilly BELFOR Training Center has been very good–and a packed family suite, currently occupied by members of the Red Wings’ coaching and front office staffs.

Thursday and Friday’s schedules both list a significant amount of time dedicated for fitness testing as well, and today, the players were put through their paces in two tests: first, players skated through photographic gates spaced at 10, 20 and 50 meters (not feet) from the starting line of a skating speed test, which was engaged going forward, backward, and forward while carrying pucks

Second, the players took part in a “T Drill” in which agility and reflexes were tested by skating about 5 meters forward to touch a cone, 10 feet to the right to touch a pressure-sensitive disc, then 15 feet to the left to touch another pressure sensitive disc, and after tapping the cone one more time, the players had to skate back through the touch pad from whence they came.

Those drills were conducted after a full hour’s worth of Simon, Horcoff and Cleary’s team drills, and I happen to know that the hyper-competitive players are shown their results as compared to NHL players. As it turns out, the NHL’ers are generally faster than the prospects, by a couple tenths of a second at each drill and at each interval. It’s a good reminder of the long way the players have to go fitness-wise to catch up to the people whose jobs they covet!

I don’t know if I’m allowed to write this down, but I’d suggest that coach Simon’s drill book has NO GAPS in it.

My best guess as to that end involves the drills that the Red Wings’ forwards and defensemen took part in during their 45-minute practices, because Teams Howe and Lindsay involved a whole hell of a lot of “gapping up” between defenders and the forwards who the “D” were tasked with stopping, sometimes over the course of furious, full-ice battles between 2 forwards and first a pair of defenders on one side of the ice and then a pair of defenders on the other side, with players skating full out to try and beat each other to the net.

Simon’s also kept his drills somewhat simple: even though the drill write-ups were perhaps the last-popular portions of my development camp blog entries, I can tell you that most of Simon’s drills can be written down on the roster sheets provided to the fans who enter the rink.

There is some evidence that Simon is still getting his feet wet in said simplicity, but whether it’s Simon, Horcoff, Cleary, Toledo Walleye coach Dan Watson, Toledo Walleye assistant coach Andy Delmore, or one of the goaltending coaches that’s monitoring the charges, the Wings’ coaches have not been shy about stopping players in full flight to emphasize a specific point of possession, position or player-on-player closure.

In hockey, it’s angles, lines and circles, too–moving geometry, if you will–and players can always do the drills a stride better or an interception angle sharper. Pace, poise and execution are emphasized in earnest here, and while we haven’t seen the kind of 5-on-5 hockey calculus of coach Todd Nelson’s reign, the speed game has been fun to watch.

In terms of player impressions, on a team-by-team and player-by-player basis:

Team Lindsay


#15 Jonatan Berggren: The more I see, the less I know, that may be a theme for today, but in Berggren’s case…He’s not that big at 5’10,” he’s not that strong at a listed 181 pounds (which is kind), and he’s got a short, choppy stride, but he can give-and-go with the best of them, and what has been intriguing about him in limited viewings thus far is that the 33rd overall pick is a superb puck dispossession player, doing some of his best work between possessions of the puck. He’s a little water bug out there, and the comparisons to Viktor Arvidsson are fairly accurate…But it is very, very early, and the Skelleftea AIK product is still at the start of his developmental curve.

#20 Nicolas Guay**: Guay has improved as his comfort level has increased. I wouldn’t put the 6’1,” 183-pound center in the “sign the free agent and wonder what you got away with” category, but he has proved to be proficient.

#45 David Pope: At 24, Pope’s developmental curve is going to be relatively short–either he’s going to have a good season or two with GR and take an NHL spot at 25 or 26, or he’s going to be in another organization–but I believe that Pope has the chops to make it work. You and I both know that he carries the reputation of a sniping scorer coming out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, so I’ve been watching the passing, playmaking, skating and positioning of the left-shooting winger, and the 6’3,” 198-pound forward has done an excellent job of rounding out his game. He will need some seasoning, though, to round out both the edges of his game and his strength.

#64 Zach Gallant:Gallant is fun to watch, if nothing else. Among the litany of grinding forwards in the Wings’ prospect pipeline, the 6’2,” 198-pound Peterborough Petes center hauls ass up and down the ice and he does a very good job of skating just as fast with the puck on his stick as he does without. It was actually when he did the skating test without a puck on his stick that he struggled through the 50-meter gate, arms and legs askew.

#70 Jack Adams:Adams reminds me of Patrick Holway a couple of years ago–the 6’5,” 204-pound gazelle hasn’t truly grown into his body, and that’s a problem, because he needs to move those knees and elbows into position to score goals. Adams is not necessarily going to become as well-rounded as a David Pope, so the Union College sophomore needs to make a better effort to get his shots off when they are available, because he is very, very good at shooting and scoring.

#78 Taro Hirose**: Hirose blended into the background both yesterday and today. The 5’10,” 160-pound Michigan State University forward is efficient and compact, but I’m not seeing confidence from someone who posted 42 points in 36 games this past season.

#82 Colt Conrad**: Conrad also posted a point per game with Western Michigan University this past season, and the 5’10,” 187-pound center has bobbed along with the increasingly impressive talent level of the free agent try-outs, but he has not exceeded the banks thereof.

#84 Otto Kivenmaki: Kivenmaki may have more pluck than Berggren, skating better and working more efficiently with the puck on his stick, but the 5’8,” 154-pound Finn…let’s say he has some weight to add and let’s leave it at that.

#88 Ryan Savage**: I see speed in Savage that Hirose, Conrad and even Guay do not possess. The 5’11,” 180-pound Fargo Force forward is finding his way but has not stood out thus far.

#89 Pavel Gogolev**: There is a remarkable drivetrain in the 6,’ 168-pound Peterborough Petes invite, and his hands work quite well, so I’ve been impressed with his goal-scoring–as it should be given that he posted 30 goals in 66 games this past season–but there’s so little torso to work with. These lanky, speedy centers excel during development camps, but they tend to fade during prospect tournaments in which checking and physical battling are emphasized.

#90 Joe Veleno: Veleno “came off it” a little bit on Thursday, displaying perhaps the most fatigue of anybody on Team Lindsay, but that’s not a criminal offense. The 6’1,” 191-pound center continues to vex me in terms of his “upside”–Veleno may be a rich man’s Dominic Turgeon (i.e. an excellent checking center), or he may be the poor man’s 2nd line forward behind Dylan Larkin. It’s too early to tell where exactly he “slots,” but his skill set, from skating and passing to shooting, vision, physicality and competitiveness are all excellent. He’s probably headed back to Drummondville to play in the QMJHL this upcoming season, and where he takes his development will be telling.


#21 Dennis Cholowski: Dennis had a bit of a fade-into-the-background day as well, and it’s only the little chippiness in his skating stride that leads me to believe that he isn’t quite ready to start the year in Detroit. Cholowski has been doing a hell of a job of leading the defense in “gapping up” while transitioning between forward, backward and lateral skating, and when not defending, he possesses a deceptively heavy shot and a great outlet pass.

As far as his physical make-up is concerned, Cholowski is faithfully listed at 6’1″ and 195 pounds, and again, I do believe that he needs some AHL bumping and grinding to be truly NHL-ready, but whether he can develop a little more of a physical edge this summer is up to him, not you or me.

#53 Kasper Kotkansalo: Kasper is working on his skating, which is really going to tell the tale (as Kotkansalo himself has said) for the Boston University sophomore. At 6’2″ and 196 lean pounds, the middle-pair defenseman could be very useful as a literal stop-gap between skill and brawn, but he’s going to have to use the next three years to fill out physically and get his skating up to par.

#62 Trevor Hamilton*: The 6,’ 198-pound and right-shooting AHL or ECHL-bound defenseman has done more to impress in the Hirose-or-Conrad vein than he has stood out, and the Grosse Pointe Farms native will likely play a leadership role with the prospect tournament team as a result.

#74 Cole Fraser:When Fraser is in his lane, and active and engaged, he’s a right-shooting version of Kotkansalo, except with more physical bite (he can really rail players, and fight). When he’s not laser focused on his task, he can simply slip loose from his battles, belying a heavy shot and good passing skills. He just needs to stay on target.

#86 Alfons Malmstrom: There are players who “do a lot with a little” and players who “do a little with a lot.” Malmstrom has immense physical ability as a big 6’2,” 190-pound defender with good skating strides and solid hands, but how he has wallowed in the J20 league, I do not know. Another player who needs to apply himself more.

#94 Alec Regula: Flip the script in terms of focus and you end up with someone like Regula, who can’t help but be engaged in every shift. Still a young 17-going-on-18 and massive at 6’4″ and 203 pounds, the right-shooting rearguard produces poise with the puck and has the natural skating speed to jump up in the rush without hurting himself. Lots of potential here.

#95 Seth Barton: I am embarrassed to say that the Red Wings must see something in this guy that I don’t, at least not yet. The 6’3,” 174-pound (maybe) BCHL graduate is very raw and very lean, and while he skates well and possesses a fairly strong right shot, he may need all four years at UMass-Lowell to round into form.


#31 Jesper Eliasson: Three days in, Eliasson is still predictably bland, although there is nothing wrong with being bland and effective. The 6’3,” 209-pound J20 graduate is going to try to make the Vaxjo Lakers’ SHL roster, and that’s a big jump for a butterfly goaltender with no distinguishing characteristics other than effectiveness, and if I were to point out his biggest flaw, it’s that he’s big enough that he goes to his knees fairly easily. I wish I had that kind of mobility when I was his age.

#38 Joren van Pottelberghe: Watching Joren gets me excited, and sometimes watching Joren gets me worried. The 6’2,” 201-pound goaltender has spent the past couple of seasons basically splitting time in HC Davos’ net, and Joren needs to catch on and really seize the starting goaltender’s spot to make a meaningful push toward making a North American jump. JvP possesses all the pluses and minuses of the modern pure butterfly goaltender, displaying perhaps a style that is most reminiscent of Marc-Andre Fleury, and as I keep saying, he’s got to seal the holes above his pads and below his gloves. If he can sort himself out, though, the Wings may not be so thin in goal after all.

#60 Kaden Fulcher: As a goaltender who had to focus on maximizing his own natural stopping surfaces, it’s a pleasure to watch Fulcher play so very well with such impeccable positioning and fundamentals. Again, he drops down and lets chest-and-shoulder-level shots get by him, but those are the few that do get by the Hamilton Bulldogs netminder. At 6’3″ and a faithful 182 pounds, the more I see of Fulcher, the more I believe he is going to be OK turning pro, probably with Toledo.

* = Grand Rapids Griffins signing, ** = free agent invite.

Team Howe:


#11 Filip Zadina: Zadina was admirably a bucket full of nerves during the skating and agility tests, almost amusingly so, accidentally setting off the gates or knocking them over trying to be faster than he is capable of being. Yes, he possesses superb forward and lateral skating abilities, he’s an excellent puckhandler (even though he had some trouble readjusting to a Bauer stick today) and the Hossa-the-sniper-style Czech winger is just a lethal shooter with an arsenal of shots to his name. The 6,’ 196-pound winger’s work ethic is what sets him apart, however–you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t have a smile on your face while you’re working your tail off, like Zadina does, you’re not going anywhere…and when you realize you’re as fortunate to be blessed with talent as Zadina knows he is, you’re gonna go places.

#17 Ryan O’Reilly: Jack Adams II. The 6’2,” 201-pound right-shooting forward doesn’t quite have Adams’ wingspan, but the USHL forward has a sneaky, slithery shot that finds its way through traffic, and he’s a good puck transporter. Otherwise, he’s still pretty raw, but he’s on an NCAA developmental curve, so there’s time for O’Reilly to fill out his skill set.

#27 Michael Rasmussen: The 6’6,” 221-pound forward is simply and plainly NHL-ready. Rasmussen has a massive body, a boatload of talent as a passer, shooter, checker and skater–so he’s a damn fine all-round forward who can play on the top two lines–and people don’t admit that he’s got a massive ego and oodles of self-belief, so there’s a big pride factor for him in making the Wings this season. That’s a good thing for an athlete to have, and Rasmussen’s pride could carry him to a letter on his jersey some day.

On these summer development teams, there is the Zadina-and-Rasmussen team, and there’s everybody else, because there are Zadina and Rasmussen, and then there’s everybody else.

#37 Mattias Elfstrom: Elfstrom’s a player where the hands need to catch up to the body. Legitimately listed at 6’3″ and 200 pounds, the Vasterviks IK forward needs to wrap his head around the concept that, with more effort and determination, he really could carve out a solid pro career for himself. He just needs to re-commit himself to finding those goal-scoring hands and having a really good season in Sweden (easier said than done, of course).

#46 Lane Zablocki: Zablocki has the deck stacked against him as one of the many forwards grinding it out for a grinder’s spot on a skilled team. The 6,’ 190-pound right-shooting winger has pluck, jam and determination, and he skates well, but he’s going to have to find a harder edge to stand out.

#48 Givani Smith: Smith may be a model player for the player development model. Givani figured to be a 4th line energy winger until this past spring, when Smith really found another level during the Kitchener Rangers’ playoff run. He’s still probably a 3rd line shift disturber, but the energetic 6’2,” 206-pound turning-pro winger is going to endear himself to home team fans and become loathed by the opposition because he’s taken his enthusiasm and harnessed it to work on his skating (which is now speedy), shooting (solid, if not a little heavy) and passing skills (which are quite complementary). Smith is the kind of player that facilitates time and space for a skill player, and you can’t have enough lunch-pail guys with an edge on your team.

#67 Brady Gilmour:  Gilmour is a surprisingly efficient skater and 5’10” and 170 pounds of works-his-ass-off grit, but that kind of size is no longer undersized in the NHL–it’s exctinct, and Brady has to find a way to make his gritty game stand out the opposition he can’t quite stand over.

#75 Sebastian Vidmar**: Vidmar has gotten more impressive as he’s found his comfort level. The Union College graduate stands at 6’3″ and 189 pounds, he’s fast, and the 24-year-old posted 30 points in 36 games. He’s looking for a pro home.

#76 Chase Pearson: As kindly noted by a commenter, Pearson and his teammate, Patrick Holway, are juniors, not seniors, and that makes a world of difference for both of them. In Pearson’s case, the 6’2,” 200-pound passing forward still needs to find some consistency after what was a split-season (admittedly) of no scoring and then a ton of assists for the University of Maine co-captain, who finished the year with 7 goals and 20 assists in 37 games played. Pearson has rounded out physically, he’s an excellent skater and his vision is superb, and at the halfway mark of his college career, he needs to keep developing his skills and skating. Ideally, he fits into the lineup as a second-line center who sets up goals.

#81 Trevor Yates*: An AHL-or-ECHL-bound, 24-year-old center out of Cornell, Yates stands a stout 6’2″ and 203 pounds, and he’s skated well and displayed a commensurate level of physical fitness, and again, he’s probably going to be a leader during the prospect tournament, assuming the Wings don’t simply turn him pro right away.

#85 Luke Morgan**: Michigan Hockey’s Michael Caples penned a fine story about Morgan, who’s had to sit out the past season to transfer from Lake Superior State to the University of Michigan. At 5’11” and 190 pounds, the 22-year-old forward is using development camp as a warm-up as he prepares to re-set his NCAA career.

#92 Maxim Golod**: Golod fits in with the other free agent forwards who are great skaters but don’t possess great physiques. At 5’10” and 160 pounds, Golod absolutely motors up and down the ice, but the Erie Otters forward doesn’t have much of a drive train.


#50 Reilly Webb: Webb, like Adams, tantalizes with his wingspan. He’s listed at 6’3″ and 201 pounds, but Webb’s all arms and legs, so he covers ice in a hurry and he closes gaps with the players he defends in “short order.” He’s also got solid puck skills, but the right-shooting Webb needs to focus on filling out, because the Wings could use a big, heavy, right-shooting defenseman to fill out their roster–and they have a lot of candidates, so it would be great to see someone as hard-working as Reilly step up.

#54 Gustav Lindstrom: I haven’t said this yet about Lindstrom: he’s worked really hard to be liberally listed at 6’2″ and 187 pounds. Gustav was a wee little dude when the Wings drafted him, but over the past year, he’s worked hard on becoming stronger, and that’s essential because he possesses the most skill of any Wings defensive prospect not named Cholowski or Hronek. Lindstrom has superb vision and playmaking abilities, and while he can carry the puck, he has the smarts to understand that a puck-distributor can be more useful than a puck-lugger. He’s got a smart shot as well, his positioning is excellent and his skating skills, forward, backward and lateral are all very good. If Lindstrom continues his upward ascent as a Frolunda Indians signee, he may very well find his way over to this side of the ocean sooner than later.

#63 Jared McIsaac: Three days of McIsaac, no better certainty as to whether he’s a top-pair or bottom-pair defender, or somewhere in between (the truth usually lies in the middle). McIsaac, who conducted a Red Wings “Twitterview” today, is already en route to an NHL-sized frame at 6’1″ and 193 pounds, and there continue to be flashes of strength in what currently appears to be a complementary defenseman.

#73 Marcus Crawford*: Another AHL-or-ECHL-bound player, the 5’11,” 190-pound Crawford is probably headed to the ECHL despite a superb 53 points in 68 OHL games this past season. The Wings have a fair amount of point-producers who are of the smaller variety.

#79 Malte Setkov: Setkov may have a future as a wind turbine if his hockey career doesn’t pan out. The lithe 6’6,” 192(?)-pound defenseman is absolutely gargantuan in terms of his size, but his physicality is on the level of a moderately upset rodent. He skates tremendously well, not just for his size but in general, and he handles the puck well, but he’s the kind of player who you drool over because he’s super tall and super lean and the kind of player who tends not to pan out because he’s super tall and super lean. He needs to be more determined and more assertive on the ice.

#87 Patrick Holway: Again, Junior Not Senior. Holway had a very good third day, closing the gap with Regula and Lindstrom to some extent. The 6’4,” 204-pound junior at the University of Maine broke out offensively this past season, posting 19 points in 33 games, mostly in the latter half of the season (which is good for a blossoming NCAA defenseman). Holway has done what Webb and Setkov need to do in reining in those lanky arms and legs and filling his frame out with muscle (and demonstrative focus). I would still like to see Holway really stand out given that the summer is the only time he has to turn heads.


#34 Patrik Rybar: There’s very little to say about a very crucial goaltender, and that’s frustrating. I believe that Rybar was out with the goalies pre-skate, but like the elusive Filip Larsson, who isn’t even listed on the prospect camp roster (Larsson is rehabbing a groin injury as he prepares for his freshman season at the University of Denver)…

(deep breath)

Rybar, whose excellent season with HC Kralove in the Czech Extraliga (see: 23-13-and-0, 1.73 GAA, .931 SPCT) earned the Slovakian goaltender a contract with the Red Wings, is very literally a stop-gap.

With Jared Coreau and Tom McCollum likely leaving the organization, it’s Jimmy Howard, probably Jonathan Bernier, and then…??? You spread out Rybar and Fulcher and you’ve got two goalies in a four-goalie system, so I have to assume that the Wings will import a veteran AHL’er or ECHL’er (or two) to ensure that the entirety of the 3rd Goaltender Safety Valve is not sitting on Rybar and Fulcher’s shoulders.

As for Rybar’s style, it’s fairly conservative, modern Czech butterfly, no hurling himself around the net like Petr Mrazek does.

#68 Victor Brattstrom: There is a way to differentiate Brattstrom from Jonas Gustavsson, and it’s by saying this: Brattstrom does an excellent job of steering the inevitable rebounds that come from being a “blocking-style goalie” into the corners or into low-danger areas. Brattstrom has really impressed me as a 21-year-old-drafted goalie out of Timra IK’s J20 team, and it appears that the 6’5,” 198-pound goalie will try to make the men’s league team this season. He’s consistent and repeatable, and being a goalie is all about being consistent and repeatable.

#80 Keith Petruzzelli: Petruzzelli still oozes potential as someone for whom a rough freshman season separated him from being named the USHL’s goaltender of the year. Petruzzelli’s been generally unable to take part in the team drills due to an injury, and that’s unfortunate, because the massive 6’6,” 185-pound goaltender needs to find some way to springboard himself past a season in which he struggled in limited duty behind Quinnipiac University starter Andrew Shortridge. I’ve seen Petruzzelli play and know that he’s got sterling fundamentals–sort of like an oversized Kaden Fulcher–and he just needs to get back into the net.

#30 Justin Fazio**: I don’t believe that the Wings are going to sign Fazio, a 21-year-old turning-pro goalie who played for the OHL’s Sarnia Sting this past season, but Fazio earns major street cred for having helped out the Wings when they needed it. The 6’1,” 192-pound goaltender helped the Grand Rapids Griffins when they needed someone to back up Coreau, and now the Wings have come calling for a development camp netminder, and Fazio is gobbling up both ice time and pucks.

I think that somebody is going to take a flyer on Fazio as a professional goaltender, and they will be very happy with their decision. He’s polished, poised and excellent fundamentally, with a particularly good blocker and superb rebound control. He’s not big by “modern” goaltending standards, but he’s refined and polished.

* = Grand Rapids Griffins signing, ** = free agent invite.

3 of 5, over halfway there!

Tomorrow’s schedule repeats today’s–45 minutes of practice followed by on-ice testing, and it appears that the dreaded Skating Test is on the agenda.

Again, please let me know if you need more drill stuff, if you want me to focus on specific players, etc. I’m on your dime this week, and I’m trying my best.

If you have any words of encouragement or constructive criticism as to how I can get better, please let me know via Twitter, email, Facebook, the comments section, etc. (heck, you could drop a penny or two at or my Patreon page. What a country!)

Thanks for your time, readership and support.


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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.

7 thoughts on “Impressions from the third day of the Red Wings’ summer development camp ’18”

  1. If Zadina and Ras can make the team, I will be happy and see some big steps towards the rebuild.

    The D will have to wait. Maybe one addition but no Grade A prospects yet.

    Will see even a couple of months can make a difference.

    I will pass on whoever takes the 1B goalie, neither Goalie will be anything better than average

  2. Thanks for the article George! Looked like it was a difficult day for most of our prospects, hopefully some will get better tomorrow…

  3. Great write ups!!

    As a Saginaw / Detroit fan who is here in Detroit supporting Webb and Gilmour, is Gilmour being displayed inaccurately in your write up regarding his size? I don’t think he is much bigger, but if published every article about his height and weight, it should be accurate in fairness to him. On his OHL team website he is listed 5’11” and 180 lbs, but off the ice the past few days he even looks bigger than that. I am sure that was his weight on the Saginaw site was at the beginning of last season. And Webb looks bigger than he is being reported as and listed on the Saginaw site.

    1. According to the Red Wings, everything they’re listing in terms of height and weight is the most recent number as taken just prior to development camp.

  4. Could you explain a little bit about the different goaltending styles you mentioned? What differentiates a “Czech butterfly” from a “Swedish butterfly”?

    1. The Swedish butterfly goaltender tends to play a more conservative blocking style, with an emphasis on squaring up to shooters and staying stationary, whereas the Czech-or-Slovak version of the butterfly school of goaltending is a little more intuitive and involves more motion in the crease. Think Henrik Lundqvist vs. Michal Neuvirth. I will try to clarify things a little more tonight.

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