MLive’s Ansar Khan issues a 2019-2020 season outlook for Red Wings rookie Ryan Kuffner:
Kuffner is a strong skater with a good shot, someone the Red Wings projected as a potential scoring winger in the NHL. But unlike fellow college free agent Taro Hirose, Kuffner did not make an impact during his late-season audition.
He’ll need to compete for a job in training camp and preseason, likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity. He’s not a penalty killer and defense isn’t his forte, so that doesn’t bode well for him. He’ll be competing with the likes of Christoffer Ehn and Jacob de la Rose, whose defensive aptitudes give them the edge, and Michael Rasmussen, whose size and ability to play a net-front role gives him an advantage.
Kuffner isn’t going to stick around as the 13th forward when he could be playing regularly and further developing in Grand Rapids. So, he’ll need to earn a regular spot in the lineup to stick with the Red Wings.
Kuffner was focused this summer on improving his lower-body strength to be better-prepared to win battles in the corners.