The Detroit Red Wings’ prospects defeated the Dallas Stars prospect tournament team in a wild and wacky game, building 3-0 and 5-1 leads before ultimately prevailing over the course of a 5-4 victory. The Red Wings’ website posted its broadcast of the game (though you may have to head over to YouTube to watch the highlights)…
And, after the game, Jared McIsaac and Lucas Raymond spoke with the media…
As did coach Ben Simon:
Detroit jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period thanks to goals by Tyutyayev and Pearson just 2:18 apart. Tyutyayev beat Stars goalie Adam Scheel, and Pearson hit the open net off a sweet feed from defenseman Adam Brubacher.
Early in the second period, Raymond made his presence felt as he rifled a shot short side off a pass from Berggren to help the Red Wings push the lead to 3-0.
Dallas cut into the lead on a goal from Wyatt Johnston to make it 3-1 with 12:20 left in the second, but the Red Wings again scored two goals in lightning-quick fashion late in the period.
Tyutyayev drove to the net and earned his second goal of the game to extend the lead to 4-1 with just under three minutes left, followed 49 seconds later by Veleno scoring from a bad angle to make it 5-1.
The Stars prospects would not go quietly, though, as they scored three goals in the third period to mount the comeback. Jacob Peterson tallied the first goal of the comeback attempt at the 4:20 mark of the period, followed by two goals in a 61-second span from Tufte with 6:51 and 5:50 remaining in the game.
Detroit, with a one-goal lead to protect, buckled down and salted the game away to pick up the hard-earned victory.
Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen took note of Tyutyayev’s performance:
“I didn’t know much about him, but he got on the score sheet tonight and had a pretty solid first game,” said Grand Rapids coach Ben Simon who is coaching the Detroit rookies.
Joe Veleno, Lucas Raymond and Chase Pearson also scored for Detroit. Each of those players has a chance to make the Red Wings this season. Jonatan Berggren’s puck handling was also noticeable. Despite the score, goalie Victor Brattstrom was sharp
Tyutyayev, 21, is ticketed to play with the Griffins this season to allow the Red Wings to see what they have in him. He totaled 32 points in 43 playing for Yunost Minsk last season. Tyutyayev also boasted 10 points in 13 playoff games.
“He played with a lot of emotion,” Simon said. “He worked hard, and competed hard, both with and without the puck.”
WXYZ’s game report might offer the best perspective as to what Red Wings fans both in Traverse City and watching online were able to witness on Thursday evening:
“Everyone’s kind of got their different glasses that they’re evaluating through, but for us it’s to make sure that they’re prepared as much as possible going into training camp,” said Simon. “To try and improve every day, get a little bit better as a group. They’re learning a lot of different systems, just to get better as the week progresses, and to hopefully leave here on a positive note and have a little confidence going into the main camp.”
Coach Simon also spoke with DetroitRedWings.com’s Carley Johnston after the game:
Update: The Wings posted a late-night highlight clip as well:
🚨: Tyutyayev (2)— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) September 17, 2021
🚨: Pearson (1)
🚨: Raymond (1)
🚨: Veleno (1)
🛑: Brattstrom (31 SV)
In terms of my impressions from the game, I’m going to go line-by-line, and will note that the Red Wings were out-shot 34-22 on the night by the opportunistic Stars, while pointing out one more thing:
This was the first game of three for the Red Wings in the prospect tournament (a playoff-less tournament at that), and it involved an assemblage of Grand Rapids Griffins alumni, top Red Wings prospects, free agent invites and a couple of college signings.
It’s going to take this team all three games to truly come together and display the kind of complete game that we expect from any group of players who chooses to don the Winged Wheel, and, in the interim, the Wings will want their prospects to gain confidence, poise and familiarity with the systems of play that they’re going to be playing at 100 miles an hour during training camp and the exhibition season.
Everything here is a learning experience, one way or another, and the better the Wings’ prospects can perform, the better they can continue to perform when the NHL’ers come here next Thursday.
#52 Jonatan Berggren–#90 Joe Veleno “A”–#23 Lucas Raymond
#52 Jonatan Berggren: In his first game against NHL-caliber opponents (the Stars are a very talented team) on NHL-sized ice, Berggren, who’s optimistically listed by the Wings at 5’11” and 183 pounds, acquitted himself very well.
Playing with gloves that have cut-off cuffs and a short stick, Berggren might be 5’9″ on a good day, but his lack of size (somewhat surprisingly to me) didn’t seem to bother him one bit in terms of going into the corners with players for one-on-one battles tangling for the puck; he set up Lucas Raymond for an absolutely beautiful one-timer of a 3-1 goal, and Joe Veleno for the ultimate game-winner, and in between, Berggren was comfortable offensively and defensively, he drove play when the puck was on his stick, and he didn’t look to be too rattled by the Stars’ stars because his skating gets him out of trouble.
After two full seasons of SHL hockey, the 21-year-old Berggren is ready to make the jump to North American pro hockey; where he ends up (i.e. Grand Rapids or Detroit) is going to be up to him. I think that he’ll end up in GR unless he can earn a top-six role in Detroit.
#90 Joe Veleno “A”: Veleno is essentially the Red Wings’ captain for the duration of the tournament. The Wings don’t hand out a “C” by tradition, because only the captain of the NHL team earns that distinction, but, in demeanor and in terms of his on-ice leadership, it’s evident that the 21-year-old Veleno is the team’s leader.
Veleno had ups and downs throughout the game, scoring a goal on two shots but finishing at -1 and taking a minor penalty. The 6’1,” 191-pound center was once slight, but now he’s built like a tank of a man, and his strength was evident in his ability to win puck battles and to also out-skate his opponents. His intensity sometimes bordered on looking weighed down by the leadership mantle he carries, but as the game progressed, that “A” on his uniform got lighter.
As to where Veleno ends up, this is Game 1 of 3 prospect tournament games, and, most likely, 4 or 5 exhibition games for Veleno (like Berggren before him), and if he can’t battle his way past Mitchell Stephens, he’ll likely serve as a strong two-way center in Grand Rapids, looking to display more of the kind of offense he posted in the QMJHL at the professional level.
#23 Lucas Raymond: First game, lots of impressions of Raymond for me, some of them great, some of them not so great.
The Wings list Raymond at 5’10” and 183 pounds, and, like Berggren, I think that’s a little optimistic. Raymond does look fully recovered from his elbow surgery, and he scored an absolutely breathtaking goal to give the Wings what was a 3-0 lead.
He finished even with 3 shots on goal, and could have had more had he and Berggren not tried to get too cute; there was also an unnerving moment where the 19-year-old literally skated into the boards looking for a wider, SHL-sized rink’s outlet pass, but Raymond also got high-sticked late in the game, when Dallas was all desperation and intimidation, and he skated away from the scrum a little dazed, a cut on his chin, he went back to the bench, gathered himself, and came right back out there and helped carry play on the Wings’ top line.
There’s going to be a learning curve for Raymond as he didn’t play a full season last year in the SHL, but if Berggren is the puck-carrying passing machine with a high ceiling, Raymond is the lurk-in-the-woods sniper with the finishing skills to match Berggren’s play on a line of (as the Swedish newspapers like to say) “Radar Partners.”
#79 Kirill Tyutyayev**–#46 Chase Pearson “A”–#74 Cross Hanas
#79 Kirill Tyutyayev: Tyutyayev, signed to an AHL contract, is listed at 5’9″ and 146 pounds, and that might be very literally his accurate height and weight, but the kid can skate and he has dangles for days. Coming from the Belarusian pro league, I had a lot of questions as to his ability to keep up with North American pace, North American-width rinks (85 feet wide instead of 100 feet wide) and against North American size, and, for one, game, anyway, Tyutyayev blew away everyone’s expectations.
He scored two goals on 4 shots, finished at +2 on a night where few players had a solid +/- rating, and Tyutyayev looked great working with Chase Pearson and Cross Hanas on the Wings’ #1B line. Tyutyayev even celebrated by dragging his hand across the ice in soccer style after his first goal, and everyone in the rink that knew he’s from Yekaterinburg, home of one Pavel Datsyuk, started seeing stars, I’m sure.
All of that being said, one game among 18-to-25-year-olds does not a career make, and Tyutyayev is going to have quite the time adjusting to playing against AHL’ers who skate on rinks to bring home dinner to their wives and kids, but if he can adjust physically and he can adjust to the heavy 70+ game AHL schedule, he’s got the skill to take him places.
As an addendum, Tyutyayev had 4 of the Wings’ 22 shots.
#46 Chase Pearson “A”: If there’s a player other than Veleno that looks NHL-ready, it’s Pearson, hands down. The alternate captain is 24 now, and, after posting nearly a point per game during his sophomore AHL campaign, the 6’2,” 200-pound center with the long hockey hair has slowly but surely developed into a fine checking line center.
He wins faceoffs, he’s strong one-on-one, he goes to the front of the net and stays there at both even strength and on the power play, and he knows that his bread-and-butter is going to come from shutting down opponents, but he scored a goal, had an assist, and finished at +2 anyway.
I remember when Pearson was a skinny young 18-year-old at the Wings’ summer development camp, and he’s taken the Slow Boat approach to development, playing four years at the University of Maine before two more at the AHL level, but now he looks ready to compete with both Veleno and Stephens, and his skating, checking, positioning and work ethic are all NHL-caliber.
#74 Cross Hanas: Hanas, who will play for the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks as a 19-year-old this upcoming season, finished at +3 on a team that finished at +5 on the night, posting an assist and taking 2 shots.
The 6’1,” 164-pound winger looked a little lost after a rough USHL campaign (he played for the Lincoln Stars while the WHL was on COVID break) during the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, but he looked very good during the Wings’ morning skate, and he looked very good during the game as a complementary winger to Pearson and Tyutyayev.
Hanas is a strong skater and he’s got scorer’s hands, but his slightly Ray Sheppard-esque stride (i.e. he can look a little lazy out there) belies a strong work ethic and good defensive instincts. Hanas will head back to the WHL this season and hope to post point-per-game numbers as he continues to evolve into what will hopefully be a middle-six scoring winger.
#56 Pasquale Zito–#51 Hayden Verbeek**–#58 Cameron Butler*
#56 Pasquale Zito: The Red Wings have 2 2021 draft picks on their roster, and Pasquale Zito is the one that hasn’t played a meaningful game–until Thursday night–in an entire year. Zito, all of 6′ and 174 pounds, was particularly rusty out there, but that’s to be expected as the OHL did not play last season.
He came on somewhat as the game progressed, and when the Wings’ bottom two lines started to look gassed, Zito was just picking up the pace, starting to instigate a bit and bump and grind here and there. That’s his bread and butter–instigating and coming away without taking penalties–and the fact that he got caught hooking a Star in the 2nd period speaks to the fact that he’s going to make some mistakes along the way. Ideally, Zito draws far more penalties than he commits, and, at all of 18, he’s got time and developmental runway yet to traverse.
#51 Hayden Verbeek**: An AHL contract, the 5’10,” 183-pound center finished at -1, but the AHL veteran had a good finish to what was an up-and-down game for both the third and fourth lines. I was a little concerned that the undersized forward was getting pushed and shoved out of position and off draws early on, but the more out-of-hand the score became (first for Dallas, and then Detroit), the better he adapted to the pace of play and the level of competition.
I’m not really sure where Verbeek fits in at this point, other than to say that he’s AHL-bound, but after one game, there were hints of an upside.
#58 Cameron Butler*: A free agent invite, Butler, like Zito, did not play a game for his Niagara IceDogs as the OHL did not hold a 2020-2021 season, and there were moments when the 6’4,” 203-pound winger looked out-of-sorts playing in his first meaningful game in a year.
That being said, despite the fact that Butler finished at a team-worst -2, the 19-year-old undrafted forward’s physicality really impressed me, perhaps most of all of the Red Wings’ free agent invites. There were times that Butler was an absolute Mack Truck on ice, crashing and banging with aplomb, and there were moments when the right-shooting right wing carried the puck up ice with authority, or made the smart play to get the puck out of trouble.
Especially when the Stars came back, the third line had its hiccups, but hell, Berggren, Veleno and Raymond were on the ice for the 5-4 Stars goal, so I’m willing to be a little forgiving with Butler given that he played in his first competitive game in a year here.
#64 Luke Toporowski**–#62 Cooper Walker*–#61 T-Bone Codd*
#64 Luke Toporowski*: On the all-invite line, Toporowski, all of 5’10” and 178 pounds, may have had the best overall game, and he finished at -1 with 1 shot. The Spokane Chiefs winger has posted a point per game at the WHL level, as well as the USHL level this past season, and there were at least moments where he sailed along above his literal and figurative weight level. There were also moments when the ship was sinking, in terms of his line, and he experienced a bumpy ride. He skates well enough…But this was his first game, and he was up and down.
#62 Cooper Walker*: Walker, like Zito and Butler, did not play a competitive game during the 2020-2021 season, so the free agent invite and Guelph Storm center had a bit of a bumpy ride. He’s listed at 5’9″ and 174 pounds on EliteProspects, but the Red Wings have Walker standing at 6′ and 165, which is quite the roller coaster in terms of a growth spurt combined with losing a little weight, and that could explain why he got bounced around some of the time in terms of his physical battles.
#61 T-Bone Codd*: The last of our all-invite line, Davis “T-Bone” Codd is all of 18 years old, and was passed over in his first draft year, and again, he did not play in a meaningful game for the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit because of the pandemic. Standing at 5’10” and 180 pounds by the Wings’ estimates, or 5’9″ and 175 on EliteProspects, the “little guy” literally bounced off players when he hit them, he took short shifts, and there were times that he looked like he was in his element when the game got physical, and there were times that he looked overpowered physically and in terms of the pace of play.
#44 Donovan Sebrango–#47 Wyatt Newpower “A”
#44 Donovan Sebrango: Sebrango, all of 19 but eligible to play in the AHL this season due to the pandemic (he would have been property of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers otherwise), displayed some of the flair and poise with which he earned a Red Wings contract at 18 years of age, and there were moments that the 6’1,” 190-pound defenseman with a flourish for things physical looked more like a 19-year-old kid than a one-season AHL veteran.
Sebrango was signed by the Red Wings because that flourishing level of self-confidence displays itself more often than not in terms of steady, 2-3-4-defenseman’s play, and when he was working well with partner Wyatt Newpower, Sebrango was at times seamlessly smart and a little nasty physically; there were also times when he struggled, as did most of the Wings’ defensemen on a night when they gave up 4 goals as a team and as six individuals.
Ideally, Sebrango continues to play well and continues to cement his spot on Grand Rapids’ defense. If things go badly, a stint in Toledo is not the end of the world for the promising Brad Stuart-style Swiss Army Knife defenseman.
#47 Wyatt Newpower: Newpower, like Pearson, is a 4-year graduate of NCAA hockey (UConn, in Newpower’s case) and he’s 23 going on 24 this December, so there’s less developmental runway for him to take. That being said, when the 6’3,” 194-pound free agent signing played well with his partner, he was big, tough, heavy, a smart skater and a good passer…
And when he struggled, he was a man with limited pro experience who was trying to keep his and his much younger defensive partner’s head above water. Overall, I liked what I saw from the rugged right-shooting defenseman, but there were hiccups–again, as expected on a night when the Wings gave up 4 goals.
#3 Jared McIsaac-#84 Alex Cotton:
#3 Jared McIsaac: The 22-year-old defenseman’s been through a lot over the past three years in the form of two major shoulder surgeries, and I guess it’s to his credit that McIsaac finished at +2 with an assist on a night when nobody on the blueline had a stellar game.
McIsaac simply looks like someone who needs to let his literal and figurative wingspan out, and someone who is going to get better with experience. A lot like Sebrango, except older and wiser, the 6’1,” 195-pound defenseman is similarly a “Jack-of-All-Trades”-style middle pair defenseman who has the smarts, skating ability and strong stick to defend like a pro; there’s just no panic in his game, and the easygoing defenseman made a few errors here and there…
But once he gets his feet under him, so to speak, he projects as a rock-solid 3-4-5 defender. It’s just a matter of getting that experience as a healthy player after two rough years.
#84 Alex Cotton: Cotton, 6’2″ and 190 pounds, has been a point-per-game performer at the WHL level, and those offensive skills were evident when he worked alongside McIsaac, also finishing at +2 on a night when the Wings gave up 4 goals against.
At the same time, again, there were some, “Woah!” moments, when he was a little overwhelmed by both the pace of the game and the fact that he was engaged in such pitched physical battles with a pucky, slightly dirty Stars team.
The 2020 draft pick will play in the WHL as an “overager” (he’s 20, and the Wings picked him at 19 years of age), and he should continue to post point-per-game averages at the WHL level. If he can be a little more demonstrative and authoritative here at the prospect tournament, all the better for him as he continues to develop.
#86 Adam Brubacher**–#77 Oscar Plandowski:
#86 Adam Brubacher**: Brubacher, an AHL-contracted Grand Rapids Griffin or member of the Toledo Walleye’s blueline–depending on his performance here and at training camp–looked pretty darn solid, as you would expect of a 25-year-old who’s 6’5″ and 205 pounds.
There were some missteps for Brubacher playing alongside an 18-year-old defensive partner in Oscar Plandowski, and no one will mistake Brubacher’s skating for Plandowski’s, but the behemoth of a man was a behemoth of a man, and that’s promising for the Griffins (or Walleye), because this guy can crash, bang, and check.
#77 Oscar Plandowski: Plandowski finished even, and the QMJHL defenseman with the NHL skating coach for a mom and director of Coyotes’ amateur scouting for a dad displayed a lot of good and some understandable hiccups as an 18-year-old, competing among 18-to-25-year-olds for the first time.
The 6,’ 190-pound defenseman did get bumped and ground a bit by the Stars’ forwards, but he does indeed skate as well in all three directions (forward, backward and laterally) as you would expect him to, and he only got in trouble when he tried to be a little cute and make the complicated play.
That was probably true for all of the Wings’ defensemen–they got in trouble when they tried to make things complicated on a night when simple ruled the day.
#34 Victor Brattstrom: If you can have EVERYTHING in a goaltending performance, all at the same time, that was Victor Brattstrom’s first competitive game on a 200-by-85-foot rink. Scintillating saves! Doofy, soft goals against! Bad puck luck! Great and sometimes “lucky” saves! 30 tremendous saves, and 4 not-so-great goals against!
Mix in some cramping and dehydration problems over the course of the late 2nd and 3rd periods, where Brattstrom had to be attended to by the trainer, chug a hydration electrolyte gel packet, and gulp water or Gatorade at every “TV timeout,” and you get the 24-year-old’s first North American game in a nutshell.
In other words, the 6’5,” 198-pound goaltender was mostly exactly what the Red Wings needed in the net as their star-studded but surprisingly young roster found itself battling in its first prospect tournament game, and sometimes, he wasn’t quite as great as the goaltender who posted an 18-12-and-7 record in the Finnish Liiga (and yes, he did play for KooKoo) last season.
I was impressed with his overall jam and determination, I thought that his glove was excellent (though he did give up the 5-4 goal off a rebound off the tip of his tee pocket), his blocking style has evolved into a nuanced butterfly game, and if he would just stay in the net and try to stickhandle a little less, the Red Wings’ prospect team would have breathed easier.
Brattstrom, Cossa and Bednar are getting one game apiece over the course of the Red Wings’ 3 total games to be played at the prospect tournament, so what we’ll see next from Brattstrom will come over the course of training camp, the exhibition season, and what the Grand Rapids Griffins do this upcoming season.
In other words, Brattstrom won the game he started, and he’ll be battling with Calvin Pickard for supremacy in the Griffins’ net, so we wish him well and hope that he got well-hydrated after the game.
#33 Sebastian Cossa: Cossa is likely to play Saturday’s game vs. St. Louis (a 7 PM EST start), and I’m excited to see what the 6’6,” 203-pound netminder from the Edmonton Oil Kings can bring at this level.
Ideally, you want the Red Wings to win every game that their netminders start in, and ideally, Cossa comes in and dominates, but as the third 18-year-old in on the Wings’ roster (with Zito and “T-Bone” Codd), the Red Wings’ 15th overall pick in this past summer’s entry draft has a lot to learn, and the more he takes out of practices and working with the Wings and Griffins’ goalie coaches, the better, regardless of what he does on Saturday.
As I’ve stated previously, one viewing showed me a ton of promise for the massive netminder, but there’s that low blocker hand to work on, and at all of 18, the Red Wings will give him a long look during training camp and the exhibition season as well, time permitting.
#60 Jan Bednar (G): Bednar is sort of the lucky duck of the three goaltenders. The 6’4,” 194-pound goaltender is coming into his sophomore season with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL, and the 19-year-old plays a lot like Brattstrom did on Thursday–there are lots of ups and downs, spectacular saves and bad goals against, so the more he works with the goalie coaches, and the more he settles into his modern butterfly style, the better.
#78 Patrick Curry (F)**: Curry, a 25-year-old Griffins-contracted center, is likely to get into a game or two as the Wings continue playing, and I really liked the maturity that the 6,’ 185-pound graduate of Boston College displayed on Thursday morning.
Whether he can win a battle for a spot on the Griffins’ crowded roster is going to be another thing altogether, so we’ll see what the weekend and weeks ahead bring for a very solid checking-line center.
#83 Mason Ward (D)*: The free agent invite and 19-year-old Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman is a massive 6’5″ and 195 lanky pounds, and what he can do in terms of bringing more than his boomer of a shot to the mix is going to help the Red Wings determine whether he can be a “bonus draft pick.”
Ward, Cameron Butler, Luke Toporowski, Cooper Walker and T-Bone Codd all represent players who, if they display enough over the course of the prospect tournament and main camp, could conceivably be signed, but the best thing any of them can do at this point is soak up what the Red Wings and Griffins’ coaches give them in terms of tools, tips and tricks of the trade, because anybody can still draft these youngsters if they have a good prospect tournament and/or main camp. If they make an exhibition game, that’s gravy.
* = free agent invite, **= Grand Rapids Griffins contract
The Red Wings will be back on the ice on Friday morning to practice ahead of Saturday’s game vs. St. Louis and Sunday’s game vs. Columbus, but they’re taking Friday evening off as the big “Patriot Game” between Traverse City West and Traverse City Central’s respective football teams captures the town’s sports scene.
There are often glances at phones and “mixed marriages” where the hockey-lover of the family managed to win battles in two-or-more-sport famililes at Centre ICE Arena during the Patriot Game, so I’m glad that the Wings chose to give their players an evening off. It will help reduce a little wear and tear before training camp as well.
In the fundraising department, I’m approximately $500 short of my hotel bill, and my cell phone is dying an ugly death, so if you’re willing to lend a hand in exchange for this prospect tournament and main training camp coverage, you can use Paypal at https://paypal.me/TheMalikReport, Venmo at https://venmo.com/george-malik-2, Giftly by using my email, email@example.com, at https://www.giftly.com, and yes, you can contact me via email if you want to send me a paper check.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my coverage thus far, and I promise to be better on these Zoom calls as I get more experience with them.