HSJ, Kulfan profile Shai Buium

The Free Press’s Helene St. James profiles Red Wings 33rd overall 2021 draft pick Shai Buium, a big defenseman whose family has taken a circuitous route from Israel to Californian hockey rinks:

Buium, 18, is the son of Israeli immigrants. His mother   was a professional basketball player in Israel; she and her husband, Iulian, moved to southern California, where he ran his own heating and cooling company. Sports wasn’t a priority in the family until Shai made it one. He played Triple-A hockey in Los Angeles, using that as a  springboard to Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school, a hockey hotbed in Minnesota. He split the 2020-21 season between that school and the USHL, recording 26 points in 50 games with the Sioux City Musketeers.

“I went from San Diego to playing in L.A. to playing at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota to Sioux City and now I’m going to go play in Denver,” Buium said. “It’s definitely been a good journey.”

Buium is committed to playing next season at the University of Denver, which is home to the Wings’ 2019 second-round pick, Antti Tuomisto. Carter Mazur, a Wings’ 2021 third-rounder at No. 70, is headed to Denver, too.

“I probably watched Shai early in November at Shattuck,” [Kris] Draper said. “I wasn’t even sure (who) he was, I was watching a couple other prospects. I was asking who is this defenseman. The size and the hockey sense really stood out for me.

“Shattuck ended up shutting down, and he went to Sioux City. He was playing in third pair, and as soon as he decided to spend the rest of the year in the USHL, he started taking on more responsibility and played in all situations. He just kept getting better. Whenever we saw him, he got better. That was intriguing.”


Update: But wait, there’s more, from the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:

“My strengths are my hockey IQ, I read the game well, and pick my pockets of when to join the rush or stay back,” Buium said. “My game has matured through the years and I’m more of a two-way, offensive defenseman.”

Buium’s younger brother Zeev is going to play for the Plymouth Township-based United States National Development Team Under-17 squad this season. The siblings push each other.

“He’s real talented,” Shai said. “We compete against each other a lot, whether we’re on the ice together or playing street hockey or playing basketball. We compete a lot and try to get better. That’s what brothers do.”

Buium was thrilled to talk to Wings general manager Steve Yzerman during the interview process.

“He’s a legend, and it was pretty intimidating at first, that’s for sure,” Buium said. “But I’m super excited to be part of this organization.”


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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.