The Athletic’s Max Bultman and Prashanth Iyer spoke with Red Wings director of player development Shawn Horcoff in their latest “Wings For Breakfast” podcast, and this morning, Bultman posted part of his Q and A with Horcoff in article form:
You mentioned Nik [Kronwall], his first year with the player development department last year. What did you notice as the early advantages of that? What have been the impacts of Nik joining?
First off, we needed a defenseman. … Danny (Cleary, the Red Wings’ assistant director of player development) was a winger, I played center, we talked a little bit about trying to add a defenseman to the group, especially someone that played. And then when Nik came by, that’s hitting a home run, to be able to get one of the better Red Wing defensemen of all time. Obviously someone that played his position at an elite level for many years, but also just the road he took to get there.
We didn’t have anyone on the development staff that had played in Europe; obviously Nik grew up there and played there. He took his time coming over, he played in Grand Rapids. His development curve was a little bit longer, so that really also helped really round out our experience as a development staff.
We feel like there’s over 3,000 games or close to it between the three of us, and really there’s not a situation that we haven’t been in before, whether it’s a scoring winger to a grinding centerman to a defenseman (that) played all special teams out there, in the important times of the games, out there in the last minute, and obviously leadership as well. We’ve all held leadership positions on our team before. So I think we feel like we’re in a great position in terms of what we can offer these kids as a staff.