The Detroit Red Wings engaged in fitness testing during the first day of this summer’s development camp at Little Caesars Arena, and days two and three involved developing skills with Swedish coach Daniel Broberg and the Power Edge Pro fitness team.
On Thursday, both Teams Howe and Lindsay worked on skating drills with an as-yet-unnamed skating coach. The defensemen and forwards were separated to work with said coach, with each taking part 45-minute skating sessions which emphasized proper posture and skating technique.
There was a lot less jumping over things today, but the skating coach got quite technical regarding working on one’s inside and outside edges, maneuverability drills and a strong emphasis on the skaters’ first couple of strides serving as a foundation for whatever moves they might make, be they c-cut turns, crossovers or explosive strides powering the players in a straight line.
The goalies also were finally able to spend 45 minutes working very specifically with goaltending coaches Jeff Salajko and Brian Mahoney-Wilson, as well as skill development coach Brandon Narauto, doing goalie things like reading passes and dump-ins, stopping shots from oblique angles and recovering from saves to stop secondary and tertiary shots, often with screens occupying their fields of vision.
This evening, the players are going to take part in a 3-on-3 tournament, whose schedule reads as follows, and whose teams can be found here:
6:00 – 6:20 p.m. – On-Ice Warm-Up (All Players)
6:30 – 6:50 p.m. – 3-on-3 Tournament Game #1
7:10 – 7:30 p.m. – 3-on-3 Tournament Game #2
7:40 – 8:00 p.m. – 3-on-3 Tournament Consolation Game
8:20 – 8:40 p.m. – 3-on-3 Tournament Championship Game
And tomorrow, the teams will hold a Red and White game at noon:
Saturday, June 29
BOTH TEAMS 11:30 – 11:45 a.m. – On-Ice Warm-Up (All Players)
12:00 p.m. – Red & White Game (three 20-minute periods)
Put bluntly, I’d usually write up a set of assessments after the 3-on-3 tournament, but I won’t even be getting home until 10:30-11 PM, and I’ve got to be up the next morning to cover the Red and White game…
I would prefer to post the post-game interview audio and write a cursory summary of the 3-on-3 tourney instead of waiting until night time to write 48 player assessments.
Instead, I’m going to write up after-the-skating-drills assessments of all the players, with a not-so-subtle hint that there will be more to come regarding at least part of the lineup this evening, and (I hope) a set of final assessments tomorrow.
So, keeping in mind that this is a learning and development camp in which the players are not evaluated by the Red Wings’ brass (as much as is possible when you’re watching players and certain things stand out), here are my impressions of the players based upon four days’ worth of observation:
#14 Robert Mastrosimone: Sometimes, I watch the 5’10,” 170-pound Mastrosimone absolutely haul his ass up the ice, and I see why the Wings picked Mastrosimone so high–54th overall is Tyler Bertuzzi territory, after all. There are other times that the Chicago Steel graduate’s point-per-game season in the USHL and status as heading to Boston University in the fall do not move me to joy. Mastrosimone is a small forward who I would have picked a hundred spots lower. He’s got raw talent and speed with the puck on his stick, but that’s what I see.
#44 Ryan O’Reilly: O’Reilly has more talent with the puck on his stick in terms of goal-scoring than anything else. The 6’2,” 201-pound forward had a so-so USHL campaign while playing for two teams this past season, and the 19-year-old, University of Denver-bound forward is still sorting out the non-goal-scoring elements of his game. He skates quite well, he has phenomenal hands and he possesses some grit as well, but he can be uncoordinated at times. He’s on a long developmental path, so there is time to be patient with him.
#46 Chase Pearson: Pearson looked quite good in the skating drills, which is excellent given that what will separate a strong checking center in the Wings’ system from the litany of checking forwards is skating skill. The 6’2,” 200-pound center and former University of Maine co-captain plans on grabbing a spot on the crowded Grand Rapids Griffins’ roster this fall. At 22, it won’t hurt him if he ends up in Toledo to start.
#56 Ryan Kuffner: Kuffner is a genuine puzzle to me. The 6’1,” 195-pound-listed forward is not overly big, he’s not overly fast and he’s not super strong, but the 23-year-old graduate of Princeton has the hands to be more than the checking forward’s role that currently defines his “upside.” He works hard, he enjoys working hard, and he passes well, sees the ice well, and he can pot a goal or two. Where he fits into an NHL team’s lineup is up to him to decide.
#57 Jonatan Berggren: I’ll say it for the fourth time: Berggren has developed miles from the 5’8,” 140-pound mini mite that the Wings drafted a year ago. The now 5’10,” 181-pound Berggren is an excellent, excellent puck-carrying forward with a playmaker’s sense and the possibility of becoming a really intriguing “small center” as he works his way into the SHL full-time.
#62 Cody Morgan**: Morgan’s skating has set him apart, and the Flint Firebirds forward, a summer development camp invite, doesn’t wow anyone with his 5’11,” 183-pound size, but he has at least looked like he can keep up with and sometimes excel at the skating and skill development drills he’s being exposed to. The Wings tend to invite their OHL/QMJHL/WHL summer guests to the fall prospect tournament.
#76 Jarid Lukosevicius*: First sigh of the day. The Grand Rapids Griffins inked Lukosevicius to a 2-way AHL/ECHL deal, so the 5’10,” 185-pound forward will head to Toledo to begin his pro career after posting 29 points in 40 games with Filip Larsson’s University of Denver. Aside from being a right shot, I just don’t see him standing out from all the other undersized forwards in the pipeline. He’ll probably earn a second chance as a complementary forward during the fall prospect tournament.
#79 Samuel Bucek**: Bucek is less than KooKoo for heading to Finland after dominating the Slovak Extraliga, where he posted 30 goals and 51 points in 53 games for Nitra. Massive at 6’3″ and 192 pounds, Bucek can score, but the disparate elements of his game are lacking cohesion, which is to say that he is inconsistent and can be a mess at times.
#81 Alex Limoges**: Limoges faded a bit on Friday. He’s been up and down, but it’s hard not to like the potential of the free agent invite from Penn State. Is it possible that the 22-year-old, 6’1,” 201-pound Limoges might be the next Taro Hirose? His 50 points in 39 NCAA Big 10 games suggest that it’s possible, and Limoges’ displays of passing, shooting and skating abilities also suggest that he’s got the talented chops to back up his stats. Regrettably, he’s not going to be playing in the fall prospect tournament due to NCAA restrictions.
#85 Elmer Soderblom: Soderblom looked like a big man who’s still growing into his body for the first time on Friday. At a massive 6’7″ and 220 pounds, and probably still growing, the Frolunda Indians forward had some hiccups during the skating drills, but the vast majority of his time with the Wings has been marked by smooth, steady play out of a player who should be all arms, legs and knees and elbows pointed in funny directions.
#88 Chad Yetman**: Yetman’s a try-out who posted 57 points in 68 games played with the Erie Otters, and the 5’11,” 176-pound forward has not stood out over the course of the development camp, but, as an OHL product, he is likely to receive an invite to the fall tournament.
#90 Joe Veleno: Veleno looked very good during the skating drills, and skating is the one area of the game where I feel that Veleno could really separate himself from a 2nd/3rd line center’s role to a top-line forward. Standing an “average” 6’1″ and 191 pounds, it is possible that Veleno will start the season with the Wings, and it is probable that the QMJHL graduate and 104-point-scorer will start in Grand Rapids. Either way, he’s got the skills and the maturity and character needed to fill any role.
#53 Moritz Seider: Seider looked quite good during the skating drills, moving–again–with an ease and level of poise that an 18-year-old who is 6’4″ and 207 pounds probably should not move. He’s like Soderblom, utterly at ease with his big body, and when you are as skilled as Seider–he played in a professional league at 18 because Seider has the passing, shooting, skating and view-of-the-ice abilities necessary to make good things happen–physical maturity and mental maturity belie a boatload of potential.
#63 Alec McCrea*: McCrea acquitted himself fairly well during the skating drills, but he has not stood out as much more than a stay-at-home defender. The Griffins-contracted 24-year-old is probably going to start his pro career with Toledo, and the 6’3,” 212-pound defenseman’s size and right shot will be welcomed.
#73 Malte Setkov: The Wings’ two Big Man Project Men had up-and-down performances during the skating drills. Setkov is massive at 6’7″ and 192 pounds, he’s got tremendous reach, and when his skates are under him, he possesses excellent mobility, but there were hiccups, and there were moments that he looked under-powered. He’s got all the talent you could want from a second-pair defender, but he needs to have a big season with IK Pantern of the Swedish Allsvenskan and/or a crack-the-roster campaign with the SHL’s Malmo Redhawks.
#84 Kasper Kotkansalo: The best defenseman in the skating drills not named Moritz Seider was one Kasper “Stay-at-home” Kotkansalo. The 6’2,” 196-pound defenseman may be a defensive defender, but he is not unaware of the fact that skill will get a stay-at-home defenseman a lot further, so he’s working on his skating, and on Friday, he executed superbly. He’s headed into his junior year at Boston University.
#95 Albert Johansson: Johansson looked a lot like Setkov during the skating drills–a little befuddled at times, and a little under-powered–but things are different when you’re only 6′ and 168 pounds, and you’re all of 18. The Farjestads BK project has a lot of room to improve, and an NHL bloodline in his father, Roger.
#96 Cooper Moore: Moore was picked 128th overall this past weekend in Vancouver, and the “Moore” I’ve seen him, the better of an impression the 6’1,” 181-pound defender has made. Moore actually reminds me of Albert Johansson’s father, Roger, in that he’s not big, but possesses a wide wingspan, good skating skills, and he’s a puck-carrying defenseman as opposed to a playmaking one. Moore will head to the BCHL after a strong season in Connecticut high school hockey, and then it’s off to the University of North Dakota.
#98 Owen Lalonde**: Laldone had a good Friday, displaying strong skating acumen, but that was the best I’ve seen out of the 6’1,” 180-pound Guelph Storm defender. He’s likely to return this September for the prospect tournament, and he posted a solid 41 points in 68 OHL games this past season
#34 Victor Brattstrom: Brattstrom rebounded from a very shaky Thursday with a much better Friday under coaches Salajko and Mahoney-Wilson. He remains a big, blocking-style netminder at 6’5″ and 198 pounds, but I was impressed with his hands on Friday. He’s got a good glove hand and solid blocker, and he really is able to not only bat pucks out of trouble, but steer them into the right places, too. He didn’t give up many bad goals today and he was poised and patient.
#36 Kaden Fulcher: Fulcher and Keith Petruzzelli would benefit the most from this week’s activities, and Fulcher is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. He’s only 22, and the 6’3,” 182-pound goaltender stands in a puddle-deep system in Detroit, but the likely Toledo Walleye-bound, athletic goalie needs to battle Pat Nagle for the starting spot in the ECHL to have a real chance to advance professionally.
#38 Filip Larsson: On the”Filip” side, Larsson may be the unofficially anointed successor to Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier, but he bluntly stated that he’s not letting those kinds of ideas go to his head, and he continued to solidify his positioning on Friday. The 6’2,” 187-pound University of Denver alum has an excellent natural ability to position himself well and to maximize his frame by seeking pucks with grasping arms and reaching toes. You want goalies who seem to find the puck when it’s just beyond their reach, and he does that.
#68 Drew DeRidder**: At 5’10” and 159-pounds, the Michigan State University back-up has been a diligent worker and he’s used his stocky body to wisely snag pucks and stifle scoring chances. He’s a free agent invite, and like all the other NCAA players, he’s going to head back to MSU for the balance of 2019-20. NCAA players can’t take part in the prospect tournament, partially due to the fact that they’re going to school in September, and partially due to NCAA eligibility restrictions.
#11 Filip Zadina: Zadina skated today, albeit quite gingerly, taking part in all of the drills and displaying puck-on-stick brilliance from time to time. He possesses so much dominance when he possesses the puck, but he seems to understand that his strength, skating and overall skill set need some rounding out after a frustrating first pro season with the Grand Rapids Griffins. 16 goals and 35 points in 59 games would not be much to sneeze at for most rookies, but the 6,’ 196-pound Zadina is capable of a lot more, and he knows it.
#18 Albin Grewe: I’m excited to be able to see Grewe play in a game situation this evening. The 6,’ 187-pound forward is about grit and jam (though he had no issues whatsoever with the skating drills), but the Djurgardens IF junior team forward did not look out of place making c-cuts and skating on one leg.
#22 Ethan Phillips: It’s skating that the 5’9,” 146-pound Phillips can boast as his greatest asset, and on Friday, Phillips did a lot of learning about technique, sometimes going through the drills a bit slowly. The USHL graduate who’s headed to Boston University needs to keep working on all aspects of his game to differentiate himself from the rest of the Wings’ small forwards, even though the 2019 draft pick is just that–young.
#42 Mathieu Bizier*: Bizier continues to blend in with the rest of his teammates. The 6’1,”187-pound QMJHL center was passed over in his draft year and invited here, but he has failed to stand out in any noticeable way, good or bad. He’s probably coming back for the fall tournament, however, as a CHL player.
#49 Otto Kivenmaki: Kivenmaki looked very solid during the skating drills, maximizing a 5’8,” 154-pound frame with powerful strides and excellent technique. There’s a lot left wanting in terms of size and weight here, but the puck-moving right wing possesses skilled forward’s potential.
#50 Thomas Casey*: Casey is another very small forward at 5’8″ and 185 pounds, and the Charlottetown Islanders forward has, like Bizier, not stood out for any good reasons and not stood out for any bad reasons. He’ll probably join the Wings’ prospects in Traverse City this September.
#58 Jack Adams: Woof. Adams has a lot to work on as a 6’5,” 204-pound mass of arms and legs and neck and torso who can score goals, and one of the skills he needs to work on is his skating. He did stand out on Friday, for sometimes half-stepping the drills that required fancy footwork, and while he possesses goal-scoring abilities and massive potential (he’s probably 6’6″) as well as a lot of character, he’s got two more college hockey seasons to prove that the 22-year-old can round into professional form.
#67 Taro Hirose: Hirose, recovering from a hamstring injury like Zadina, was somewhat tentative during the skating drills, and it took a couple views to remember that he wasn’t going full-out. The 5’10,” 160-pound winger will probably start his first pro season in the AHL, but the 23-year-old MSU grad has excellent anticipatory skills, he passes and makes plays and sees the ice superbly.
#75 Troy Loggins**: Loggins is a Grand Rapids Griffins-contracted forward, and the 5’9″ 161-pound left wing will probably begin his season with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. He had a great senior college season, posting 40 points in 39 games, but he has not stood out during development camp.
#78 Gregor MacLeod**: The same is true for MacLeod, though the 6,’ 183-pound center has a stat line that pops out–84 points in 60 games with Joe Veleno’s Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL. Toledo-bound, he’s got to get stronger.
#82 Odeen Tufto*: Tufto, a free agent try-out, will most likely head back to Quinnipiac for his senior season when development camp is over. At 5’8″ and 174 pounds, he does not stand out physically, but he posted 42 points in 38 games, and he’s been talking to Hirose about having the kind of year Taro had after a summer in which Hirose, quite frankly, didn’t stand out, either.
That’s the thing about these summer development camps–sometimes the players who stand out the least can grow the most on their own, and therein lies the tricky part of player development. It ultimately is up to the player to develop, despite all the tools with which the players are presented during camps like these.
#89 Owen Robinson*: Robinson looked OK on Friday. At 6′ and 170 pounds, the Sudbury Wolves forward may be back in the fall for the prospect tournament, but the 19-year-old skated among the middle of the pack on Friday.
#24 Antti Tuomisto: Tuomisto has looked very “heavy on his skates,” which should be expected when someone is 6’4″ and 194 pounds at 18 years of age. On Friday, Tuomisto still looked a bit heavy on the blades, but he also looked maneuverable and sometimes even fleet of foot while working with the skating coach. As a skilled defender and big guy in the same package, the right-shooting Assat Pori blueliner has gotten just a little bit better and just a little bit better on a daily basis, and that is encouraging to see.
#26 Marc-Olivier Duquette*: Solid, good skater. The Drummondville Voltigeurs defender and imposing 6’4,” 205-pound figure did an excellent job of keeping up in the skating drills, and that’s not something you expect from a 19-year-old of his size.
#28 Gustav Lindstrom: Lindstrom skates and works the puck so well that he was able to easily “hot dog” it during the skating drills from time to time. Lindstrom is plain old ready for pro hockey at all of 19, and despite his measly 6-point campaign for the SHL-champion Frolunda Indians, Lindstrom possesses passing, playmaking, shooting and puck-carrying talents to spare. He’s going to step into a crowded situation on Grand Rapids’ blueline, but it’s not going to take him very long to steal a job.
#86 Seth Barton: Barton is still growing into his 6’3,” 174-pound-listed body, and the UMass-Lowell defenseman acquitted himself quite well during the skating drills, but the 2018 3rd round pick has yet to impress me.
#87 Charles-Edouard D’Astous**: D’Astous, signed to an AHL deal because of the Wings’ blueline crunch, has impressed. He’s “average-sized” at 6’2″ and 205 pounds, but when he had the puck on his stick, he made skilled plays with just as much aplomb as he skated. He posted 66 points in 55 games with the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic, and those 52 assists he posted are indicative of his status as a superb passer.
#92 Patrick Holway: Holway is figuratively hitting the re-set button as an NCAA transfer who was unable to play this past season. The incoming Merrimack junior worked very hard to sort out the various parts of his 6’4,” 204-pound frame, and on Friday, like Thursday, he didn’t look like a gangly teenager in a man’s body any more (which is quite the feat if you saw Holway at 18). I’m cautiously optimistic about the stay-at-home defenseman’s potential.
#94 Alec Regula: As I said yesterday, Regula has a really rough situation to deal with. The 6’4,” 203-pound defenseman is heading into his third season with the OHL’s London Knights, where he’s going to be expected to step up his game, but he can’t play right now due to a knee that’s sore but doesn’t require surgery (yet). He’s very frustrated with his situation and he’s trying to be patient, but that’s not easy at 19.
#97 Gustav Berglund: Berglund was picked 177th this past weekend in Vancouver, and the 6’2,” 190-pound right-shooting defender from Frolunda reminds me a lot of Seth Barton–there is skill in the package, evidently more than that of the free agent try-outs, but I’ve yet to see him stand out, never mind dazzle (and yes, it is possible for defensemen to occasionally dazzle).
#00 Robbie Beydoun*: Beydoun possesses the same kind of flashy, flourishing glove, blocker and toes of Filip Larsson, but he’s smaller at 6′ and 185 pounds, and if I may be frank, there be holes to exploit in the Michigan Tech back-up. He’s got more to give and more to learn, but he’s got the attitude to succeed.
#31 Jesper Eliasson: I am hopelessly impressed with Eliasson’s “White Bread” game. At 6’3″ and 209 pounds, the big Vaxjo Lakers goaltender does not stand out, but that’s a good thing. He plays a simple, predictable, solid game as a shot-blocking goaltender, and he sticks with his fundamentals to the death, in which case he gives up on fundamentals and does what’s necessary to stop the puck (but only rarely!). At 19, and with a SHL men’s team (Vaxjo) yet to crack, there is time and potential yet to be found with Eliasson.
#60 Carter Gylander: Gylander has intrigued me as a goaltender whose 6’5″ span has elicited some tremendous “reaching” saves and some scary “reaching” goals against. The 2019 draft pick split time in the Sherwood Park Crusaders’ goal in the Alberta Junior Hockey League this past season, and his status as all arms and legs (you can’t be much else when you weigh 172 pounds) does not detract from any lack of ability to block pucks with his body or use his stick to make smart plays. There’s a lot of potential and a crap-ton of time for him to develop.
#80 Keith Petruzzelli: Petruzzelli does not have time on his side. At 6’6″ and 186 pounds, the Quinnipiac Bobcats back-up will try to grab a starting spot this fall, and he needs to step up as the tall straw tries to finally find the form he displayed during his USHL seasons with Muskegon. Petruzzelli could use a prospect tournament to make mistakes and get better without as many consequences falling upon his shoulders as do during the course of a 36-game season, but that’s not going to happen.
*=Free agent invite **=Grand Rapids Griffins contract
That’s Day 4 out of 5, at least prior to the 3-on-3 tournament. I will write more after the 3-on-3 tourney, but it won’t be as intense.
If you liked what you read, if you like this blog in general, and/or believe in the bees, I would honored if you could send me a couple of bucks at https://paypal.me/themalikreport, or if you want, you can subscribe to my Patreon page at https://patreon.com/TheMalikReport.
If you are not a Paypal or Patreon person, YES I will send you my address via email (I can be reached at email@example.com), and YES, if you do not use Paypal or Patreon because you use something else, I will happily explore adding new services.