Toledo Walleye re-sign Brett Boeing

From the Toledo Walleye:

(Toledo, OH) – Forward Brett Boeing has agreed to terms with the Toledo Walleye for the 2021-2022 season.

Boeing spent the 2019-20 campaign in Toledo, appearing in 40 games with nine goals, 11 assists, 20 penalty minutes, and was a plus-11. The Barrington, IL, native had a stretch of four straight games with a goal from December 8 through December 14, 2019. He also finished his season with six points (2G, 4A) over the last nine games of the season, his first as a professional.

“He can play multiple forward positions which is a bonus. He creates energy with the way he plays and also contributed secondary scoring when needed. We are excited to continue Brett’s development this season after a very good rookie season.” Head Coach Dan Watson

Boeing finished his college career at UMass-Amherst that included career-highs with 41 games played in the 2018-19 season, ten goals and nine assists while playing as a plus-12. His efforts helped the Minutemen to the Hockey East Regular Season Championships. The 5’8”, 187-pound forward started his college days playing one season at Michigan Tech in 2015-16. In total, he appeared in 101 college games with 37 points (14G, 23A) and 52 penalty minutes.

Press release: Griffins hire Justin DeMartino as video coach

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:

DEMARTINO NAMED GRIFFINS VIDEO COACH

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday announced the addition of Justin DeMartino as the new video coach for the Grand Rapids Griffins.

A native of Macomb, Mich., DeMartino most recently served as the assistant coach and video coordinator for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League during the 2020-21 campaign.

“We are looking forward to Justin joining our staff. He has a great knowledge of the game and will bring a unique perspective based on his background and experiences,” head coach Ben Simon said. “His role is very important both in helping the team prepare for games and in the continued individual development of our players in Grand Rapids.” 

Prior to joining the Phantoms, DeMartino spent three years primarily as the associate head coach with the Topeka Pilots of the North American Hockey League. DeMartino was the team’s interim head coach for most of 2017-18 and added director of scouting duties in 2019-20.

He also has experience in the college ranks with Ferris State University, where he served as an assistant coach and video coordinator during the 2016-17 season.

DeMartino graduated from Ferris State in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in communications with a focus on sports communication. During his four-year playing career as a Bulldog, DeMartino racked up 12 goals, 25 assists and 37 points. The right winger helped the Bulldogs capture the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s regular-season championship in 2011-12.

Danny DeKeyser is profiled on this week’s episode of ‘Summer Wings’

DetroitRedWings.com’s Carley Johnston speaks with Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser regarding his summer’s worth of training, spending time with his family during the offseason and his preparation for the upcoming NHL campaign:

A bit of an epilogue regarding Frans Nielsen’s time as a Red Wing

Former Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen earned a tribute article for his time as a New York Islander, as penned by The Athletic’s Arthur Staple, and Staple does address Nielsen’s decision to leave the Islanders for the Red Wings some five seasons ago (as well the part Nielsen played in helping Denmark qualify for the Olympics last week):

He went for the Wings’ six-year offer at $5.25 million per year with a full no-move clause for two years and a modified no-trade thereafter. It didn’t work out, of course: The Wings fell off quickly, first with Pavel Datsyuk leaving just as Nielsen arrived and Henrik Zetterberg forced into retirement two years later. Nielsen was a healthy scratch for half of last season’s games.

“Of course you look back and wonder,” he said. “I made up my mind a while ago that this would be my last year playing here, so I think, if I took eight years, would I still want to keep going? I’m 37. Playing to 40 doesn’t seem possible for me the way I feel sometimes.”

Given the COVID protocols around the world and the fact that Nielsen’s wife, Moa, is due to give birth to the couple’s third child in December, he could end up signing in Sweden or elsewhere in Europe soon. Bringing the whole family back to North America for a part-time NHL role may not be what they want in the run-up to the Olympics in February.

Continued (paywall)

NHL.com’s fantasy hockey staff believes Jakub Vrana is a ‘breakout candidate’

NHL training camps are still about four weeks away, but NHL.com and other websites are already getting a jump on fantasy hockey rankings. According to NHL.com’s fantasy hockey staff (and quite a few other sources), Jakub Vrana is a Top 10 fantasy hockey breakout candidate:

4. Jakub Vrana, LW, DET
NHL.com rank: 99

He’s tied for seventh in the NHL in even-strength goals (66) over the past three seasons combined and was a great fit with the Detroit Red Wings after being acquired from the Capitals last season. He scored 11 points (eight goals, three assists), including a four-goal game April 22, and had 32 shots on goal in 11 games. Vrana, the No. 13 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, should benefit from the injury return of center Dylan Larkin on the top line and first power play and the Red Wings’ more accelerated rebuild; they landed goalie Alex Nedeljkovic (acquired from Carolina Hurricanes) and could incorporate rookies Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond this season.

Continued; here’s hoping.

Allen asks five questions about the Wings’ training camp to come

Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen posted a behind-the-paywall article discussing five big questions that will be answered over the course of the Red Wings’ training camp and the exhibition season:

3. Could Jonatan Berggren be more NHL-ready than Lucas Raymond? Absolutely. He’s 21 and Raymond is 19. Raymond has more long-term potential. But counting playoffs, Berggren has more than 100 games of experience in the Swedish Elite League. Berggren finished seventh in the league scoring race last season. It wouldn’t be surprising if he makes the Red Wings coming out of training camp and Raymond is sent for more seasoning.

4. Why did the Red Wings re-sign Sam Gagner? Right-hand shot. Experienced forward. High character. Skilled role player. He will be the only forward who is over 30. Coaches appreciate his attitude. The Red Wings know what they are getting.

5. Should the Red Wings extend Robby Fabbri? Depends on his ask. Fabbri has showed himself to be a productive player, but also has had trouble staying healthy. Since he entered the league, he has been able to play 66.38% of his team’s games. Unlucky. He can be an unrestricted free agent next summer. But GM Steve Yzerman seems comfortable pushing contract decisions down the road to give him more time to determine how the player fits. Fabbri is 25. He can be part of this rebuild.

Continued (paywall)

Khan profiles defenseman Oscar Plandowski

MLive’s Ansar Khan profiles Red Wings 2021 draft pick Oscar Plandowski, a defenseman for the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders, this afternoon/evening. Plandowski’s father is the director of amateur scouting for the Arizona Coyotes, and his mother is a professional skating coach:

“Hockey is my No. 1 passion,” Plandowski said. “It’s been my dream to get drafted. I definitely get to see a different side of it, being able to witness it growing up, my dad preparing for drafts. Just having him has been huge. I definitely wouldn’t be anywhere without both my parents. They’ve been a huge part of my career. I’m definitely grateful to have parents in hockey.”

Plandowski said he “wouldn’t be close to where I am today” without his mother’s help.

“She taught me how to skate,” he said. “Ever since I can remember (his father) has been traveling and away a lot. She was a huge part of my upbringing, driving me to rinks, doing whatever she could to help me get better. She knew I loved the game, so she dedicated everything. So, this is all on her. I’m really fortunate to have her.”

Continued

Another suggestion that Jeff Blashill is ‘on the hot seat’

Pro Hockey Talk’s Adam Gretz posted a set of power rankings based upon the “hot seat” levels which respective NHL teams’ coaches sit upon, and he suggests that both Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill and Ottawa Senators coach D.J. Smith are in the “Danger Zone”:

29. Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings. Like [Senators coach D.J.] Smith it is impossible to accurately evaluate Blashill because of the rosters he has had to work with. Still, in six years the Red Wings have one playoff appearance with him and have missed the playoffs five years in a row and almost certainly going on six years. Not many coaches get to keep coaching a team that long.

Blashill was given a contract extension by Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman, who keeps his cards extremely close to his chest, and I do not necessarily expect Yzerman to fire Blashill if the Red Wings demonstrate improvement over the course of the 2021-2022 regular season. Blashill has survived this long, despite pundits’ insistence that he’s been “done like dinner” for several years now. What’s to say that he may not survive longer?

McKeen’s Hockey reviews the Atlantic Division’s 2021 draft picks, including the Red Wings

McKeen’s Hockey’s Ryan Wagman published an Atlantic Division 2021 draft review this morning, and while I can’t share every part of the behind-the-paywall article, here’s the gist of his take on the Red Wings’ draft crop:

Detroit Red Wings

1 (6) Simon Edvinsson, D, Vasteras IK (HockeyAllsvenskan)

1 (15) Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton (WHL)

2 (36) Shai Buium, D, Sioux City (USHL)

3 (70) Carter Mazur, LW, Tri-City (USHL)

4 (114) Redmond Savage, C, USNTDP (USHL)

5 (134) Liam Dower Nilsson, C, Frolunda J20 (SuperElit)

5 (155) Oscar Plandowski, D, Charlottetown (QMJHL)

6 (166) Pasquale Zito, C, Windsor (OHL)

As General Manager of the Red Wings, Steve Yzerman knows who he wants at the top, and grabs them, no matter how iconoclastic the selection is at that point. See Seider, Moritz from two years ago. Seen as a surprising overdraft at the time, he is now one of the top prospects in the sport and seemingly ready to break into the NHL now. The Wings took an elite-skilled forward up top last year in Lucas Raymond, but returned to building from the back out this year. At sixth overall, they selected a defender who holds some similarities to Seider in Simon Edvinsson, as big, smooth skaters with men’s league experience and untapped athleticism. Edvinsson may not be as advanced now as Seider was when he was drafted, but his tools give him a slightly higher upside if he can put it all together. Not long after selecting the big Swedish defender, Detroit traded a late 1st rounder (part of the return from the Anthony Mantha trade) to Dallas to pick up the #15 pick, which they used to select the first goalie in the draft, the towering Sebastian Cossa. Many had Cossa ranked behind Sweden’s Jesper Wallstedt, but Yzerman likes who he likes and Cossa is a Wing.

Pick shuffling was a bit of theme for Detroit in this draft, as they did it again in the second round to grab USHL defender Shai Buium, and then traded down in the fourth round in order to acquire an extra pick in the fifth round. In the end, the eight players selected by the Red Wings were nicely divided between the positions, with two other defenders taken after Edvinsson, four forwards, and the one goalie in Cossa. They drafted two out of Sweden, three college-bound players from the USHL, and one player from each of the three CHL leagues. When the final chapter of this draft class is written, it will be judged on the top three picks’ (Edvinsson, Cossa, Buium) abilities to prevent goals far more than the production numbers any of the forwards may eventually put up.

Continued (paywall); Mr. Wagman likes the Wings’ picks of Edvinsson, Cossa and Liam Dower Nilsson, but he’s not a fan of the Wings’ decision to pick Carter Mazur as highly as they did.