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Red Wings 2012 draft day hub-roundup-type post: Wings’ brass weighs in, talks about Brunner

Updated 17x at 10:18 PM: To summarize and place all the Red Wings’ draft pick entries in the same place, here are the prospects the Wings drafted in rounds 2-7 of this year’s Entry Dra…I mean the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh:

• The Red Wings picked Halifax Mooseheads winger Martin Frk with the 49th overall pick;

• They then selected Saginaw Spirit goaltender Jake Paterson with the 80th overall pick;

• The Wings went with something of a wild card in London Knights forward Andreas Athanasiou with the 110th overall pick;

• The team shifted to the NCAA, with Western Michigan-committed defenseman Mike McKee with the 140th overall pick;

• The Wings drafted yet another player headed to Clarkson University in defenseman James De Haas, using their 170th pick on him;

• And finally, Hakan Andersson was allowed to pick a kid from the backwoods of Sweden with the 210th overall pick, snagging huge forward Rasmus Bodin, who RedWingsCentral’s Matthew Wuest reports is heading to HV71 Jonkoping in the Swedish Eliteseren.

Wings assistant GM and draft director Jim Nill summarized the team’s draft haul succinctly while speaking to DetroitRedWings.com:

Assistant GM Jim Nill meeting the media right now. Said that size wise, these last two drafts have been the biggest he’s had.

And this is good news regarding Ryan Suter, from Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika:

[Predators GM David] Poile said no one tried to trade for Suter’s rights. “I’m looking you in the eye and telling you.”

Update: the Wings just posted a Twitvid video of coach Mike Babcock wrapping up the draft:

Update #2: From ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, via RedWingsFeed [and Paul has more about Parise here]:

[Devils GM Lou] Lamoriello said no team approached him this weekend to try to get Parise’s rights. “They know better,” smiled the Devils GM.

Update #2: Here’s the Wings’ general press release about their picks:


... Detroit Selects Three Forwards, Two Defensemen and One Goalie …

Pittsburgh, PA… The final six rounds of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft were staged at CONSOL Energy Center on Saturday, with the 11-time Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings adding three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender to their stable of prospects. Detroit chose two European players and four North Americans with their six entry draft selections this year.

With their first pick in the draft, the Red Wings selected Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) winger Martin Frk in the second round (49th overall). Frk has tallied 79 points (38G-41A) in 96 games for the Mooseheads since Halifax selected him in the opening round (3rd overall) of the 2010 CHL Import Draft. The 6’0”, 198-lb. forward also represented his native Czech Republic at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships, recording 3G-3A-6P in six appearances.

Detroit selected a pair of OHL players with their next two picks, acquiring Saginaw Spirit goalie Jake Paterson in the third round (80th overall) and London Knights forward Andreas Athanasiou in the fourth round (110th overall). In the fifth round, the Red Wings chose their first defenseman of the day, selecting Lincoln Stars (USHL) blue-liner Mike McKee 140th overall. McKee is committed to Western Michigan University for the 2012-13 NCAA season.

The Red Wings wrapped up their 2012 entry draft by selecting Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL) rearguard James De Haas in the sixth round (170th overall) and Östersunds IK (SWE J20, Div I) forward Rasmus Bodin in the seventh (200th overall). Several players selected by Detroit today will take part in the team’s Summer Development Camp, scheduled to take place from July 7-13 in Traverse City, MI at Centre Ice Arena. A full roster and itinerary for this camp will be announced soon.

Update #3: Here’s a solid profile of the Wings’ picks from the Griffins:

RW Martin Frk - 2nd round, 49th overall - Halifax (QMJHL)

Height: 6’0   Weight: 204   Shoots: Right   Born: 10/5/93 in Pelhrimov, Czech Republic

Scouting Report: Frk recorded 29 points (16-13—29) in 34 games with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. Frk (pronounced FERK) was ranked 20th by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau but saw his stock slip out of the first round due to an injury-plagued season. The skilled winger is known as one of the best pure goal-scorers in the draft due to his heavy shot and elusive puck handling ability. Frk, who will return to Halifax next season but can join the Griffins in 2013-14, cites Pavel Datsyuk as his favorite current NHL player and wears #91 because of his childhood idol, Sergei Fedorov. Click here to view his YouTube highlights.

G Jake Paterson - 3rd round, 80th overall - Saginaw (OHL)

Height: 6’0   Weight: 176   Catches: Left   Born: 5/3/94 in Mississauga, Ontario

Scouting Report: Paterson was the ninth goaltender selected this year, part of a third round that featured seven goalies drafted overall. Paterson played in 42 games for the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit this season, posting an 18-18-3 record with a .904 save percentage. He is known for his outstanding quickness and determination. Paterson is due for at least two more seasons in major junior before potentially joining the Griffins. Click here to watch a recent interview with Paterson.

LW Andreas Athanasiou - 4th round, 110th overall - London (OHL)

Height: 6’0”  Weight: 179 Shoots: Left   Born: 8/6/94 in Woodbridge, Ontario

Scouting Report: Athanasiou was part of a stacked London Knights club that won the OHL championship and advanced to the CHL Memorial Cup Final. Like Tomas Jurco, who is expected to be on the Griffins in 2012-13, Athanasiou has made waves on YouTube for his unique puck skills and creative shootout moves. The 17-year-old winger recorded 37 points (22-15—37) in 63 games for the Knights this season.

D Mike McKee - 5th round, 140th overall - Lincoln (USHL)

Height: 6’4”  Weight: 232   Shoots: Left   Born: 8/17/93 in Newmarket, Ontario

Scouting Report: When analysts describe the typical Red Wings player or prospect, they often focus on speedy, skilled players who are average or below average size. In McKee, the Red Wings added a 6-foot-4, 232-pound defenseman who led the USHL with 237 penalty minutes and 12 fighting majors. McKee is said to skate well, and he also contributed 19 points (2-17—19) to the Lincoln Stars blueline. Griffins fans won’t have to travel far to see the physical defenseman in action, as McKee is committed to play college hockey for the Western Michigan Broncos next season. Click here for a CBC interview with McKee.

D James De Haas - 6th round, 170th overall - Toronto Lakeshore (OJHL)

Height: 6’2”  Weight: 197   Shoots: Left   Born: 5/3/94 in Mississauga, Ontario

Scouting Report: Detroit’s fifth selection was De Haas, a two-way defenseman who notched 29 points (10-19—29) in 45 games for Toronto Lakeshore in Ontario’s Jr. A circuit. De Haas is slated to play college hockey at Clarkson University in 2012 or 2013. He is known for his defensive zone awareness and shutdown ability, but he possesses a strong skating ability that helped him lead his club’s defensemen in scoring.

C Rasmus Bodin - 7th round, 200th overall - Ostersunds (Sweden-3)

Height: 6’6”  Weight: 207   Shoots: Left   Born: 5/5/94 in Sweden

Scouting Report: Detroit’s ability to find late-round gems is an annual topic of discussion at the NHL Entry Draft. Glancing at the roster shows that Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and more recently, Gustav Nyquist, were all late-round picks who rose to stardom. The team is hoping for another diamond in the rough in the behemoth Bodin, who stands at 6’6” and was the tallest player selected this year. Bodin split the season between Ostersunds IK’s under-18 team and third-tier men’s team, recording 26 points (9-17—26) and 94 penalty minutes at the junior level and 10 points (3-7—10) in 20 games at the senior level. He will play for the more well-known HV-71 junior team next season.

RedWingsCentral’s Matthew Wuest already has draft profiles up as well:

2-49. RW Martin Frk, 6-0, 193, Halifax (QMJHL), 34-16-13-29-41.  Hard-shooting, highly-skilled Czech right-winger missed the first three months of the season with a concussion. Returned and had an up-and-down campaign and needs to work on skating and defensive effort. Comparable to a bigger version of Teemu Pulkkinen. Will be a key offensive cog for a powerful squad in Halifax next season. [ More ]

3-80. G Jake Paterson, 6-2, 183, Saginaw (OHL), 18-18-3, 3.42 GAA, .905 Sv%. Paterson was ranked third among North American goaltenders by Central Scouting. Was at his best later in the season, particularly in the OHL playoffs. Has good size and covers the net down low, and more importantly, gives the Red Wings another good young goaltending prospect to complement Petr Mrazek.

4-110. LW/C Andreas Athanasiou, 6-0, 179, London (OHL), 63-22-15-37-22. One of the fastest skaters available in the draft, Athanasiou has impressive skill level and went to the Memorial Cup final with London. Rated 40th among North American by Central Scouting, he slipped somewhat because of his inability to produce more and needs to work on his consistency. Excellent upside.

5-140. D Mike McKee, 6-4, 232, Lincoln (USHL), 59-2-17-19-237. Numbers you need to know that you don’t often see from a Red Wings’ draftee — 6-foot-4, 232 pounds and 237 penalty minutes. Not ranked by Central Scouting, the rugged defenseman plays with a mean streak and is headed to Western Michigan next season in the Red Wings’ back yard.

6-170. D James De Haas, 6-2, 197, Toronto (OJHL), 45-10-19-29-32. Good-sized defenceman was ranked 176th by Central Scouting. Will play in the NCAA at Clarkson next season, the same program that housed former Red Wings prospects Julien Cayer and the late Bryan Rufenach. He led his team in defense scoring and was fifth in the Ontario junior A ranks.

7-200. C/LW Rasmus Bodin, 6-6, 207, Ostersunds (Swe-J-18), 29-9-17-26-94. The Red Wings finally went to Europe with their last pick and took yet another Swedish sleeper, a six-foot-six forward who averaged close to a point per game and piled up 94 penalty minutes at the J-18 level last season. He’s joining the more high-profile HV-71 organization next season.


Update #3: I have completed my additions to the individual player threads, with much attention paid to Frk, Paterson and Athanasiou, and from here on out, I’m just going to go with MSM stuff.

• In the multimedia department, the Wings’ website posted clips of Frk…



And the NHL Network’s interview with Mike Babcock:


• Thus far, anyway, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness posted a late-breaking reiteration of Jim Nill’s, “We need to get bigger and chippier” draft strategy, and posted blurbs about Frk, Paterson, Athanasiou, McKee, De Haas and Bodin;

• Ditto for MLive’s Anar Khan, who offers slightly meatier blurbs about Frk, Paterson, Athanasiou, McKee, De Haas...Uh, nothing on Bodin yet…

• The Free Press’s George Sipple’s draft roundup includes quotes from most of the front office and one prospect, starting with Frk...

“I don’t know what to say,” Frk said. “Big day for me. I don’t know who take me, so I’m happy. Detroit’s a great team. I’m happy. They have great team. Little bit older team, but I think it’s great team.”

He wears No. 91 because of childhood idol Sergei Federov and said he’s also a big fan of Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk.

“Before the season, I believe he was a top 15 pick,” said Jiri Fischer, the Wings’ director of player development, said about Frk. “Last year he was the highest profile European going into (the QMJHL). He had a good year.’ This year… he’s going to be under the microscope playing with Nathan McKinnon, who is going to be a top pick in the draft next year.”

Fischer said Frk is “a good player who wants to be great.”

As excited as Fischer was about landing Frk, Chris Osgood was equally pumped up about the goaltender the Wings drafted in the third round. Osgood is now a goaltending development coach for the Wings and saw he saw Paterson (6-0, 178 pounds) play 10 games last season.

“He’s a calming influence on his team,” Osgood said. “In a pressure situation he doesn’t change his demeanor at all.”
The Wings couldn’t get out of the draft without drafting someone from Sweden. They took 6-6, 207-pound forward Rasmus Bodin of Ostersunds the 200th overall pick in the seventh round. “He’s got the dimension that we like,” said Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill. “Add some size to us.”
“If there’s a high skill guy there, you’re going to take him,” Nill said. “You come to a point to where you need to add some size. We got a good mixture of players out of the draft.”

• The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan focused on the two Wings fans in the mix in Frk and Paterson...

“I always loved the way [Datsyuk’s] played the game,” said Frk, a 6-foot- 204-pound,center/right wing, who played in the Quebec Junior League last season with Halifax. “Jagr, because he’s from the Czech Republic, but Datsyuk is such an exciting player. It would be a thrill to play with him some day.”

Frk was the first player the Wings picked Saturday. A hard-charging wing who is good with the puck, Frk possessed one of the best shots in the draft and plays an effective point on the power play. Scouts, though, haven’t been thrilled with Frk’s skating or inconsistent ability to play defense.

“Those are areas I know I have to work on,” Frk said. “I know I can improve and get better in my skating.”

After Frk, the Wings picked Saginaw Spirit goalie Jake Paterson in the third round. Paterson, from suburban Toronto, grew up a Wings fan.

“This is one of the best days of my life,” said Paterson, who worked his way into the starting position with the Spirit and excelled in the playoffs. “The Wings have always been such a great organization. Chris Osgood was one of my favorites and he was one of the goalies I always looked up to.”

Paterson seemed to get better as the games got more important last season in Saginaw.

“Every game was so important for us late in the season, and you want to play your best in those types of situations,” said Paterson, who will return to Saginaw this season. “It’s going to be a thrill going to the Red Wings, there are some great goalies there already, and I’m going to learn all I can from them.”

The Wings will now take their draft picks out to dinner and head to PNC Park to take in the Tigers-Pirates game before determining the players’ availabilities for—and probably asking players who were undrafted to attend—the team’s summer development camp in Traverse City.

And as Winnging it in Motown noted on Twitter, we Wings fans will have to steel ourselves for a week’s worth of the NHL media gushing about how sure and certain Parise and Suter going to Pittsburgh over the crappy, old and busted Wings is going to be. :rolleyes: and then some.

One more thing for now: Daylife’s Wings gallery has some spiffy Getty Images picks of Frk and Paterson wearing Wings jerseys and Ken Holland and Jimmy D having a chat.

Update #4: Via RedWingsFeed, MLive’s Ansar Khan has penned a wrap-up noting that the Wings did indeed focus on getting bigger this time around…

“I’d say the last two years have been the biggest drafts we’ve had (size of players),’’ said assistant general manager Jim Nill, who calls the shots at the draft. “We know we got to get bigger. It’s the new wave of the game. If there’s a high skill guy there, you’re always going to take him. You come to a point, too, where you need to add some size.’‘

The Red Wings, who didn’t have a first-round selection, took Martin Frk, a 6-foot, 198-pound right wing from Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, with their top pick (49th overall, second round). They selected goaltender Jake Paterson (6-0, 178) from OHL Saginaw in the third round (80th) and left wing Andreas Athanasiou (6-0, 165) from OHL London in the fourth round (110th). The Red Wings grabbed two big defensemen – 6-foot-4, 230-pound Mike McKee of Lincoln (USHL), who is bound for Western Michigan, with the 140th pick, and 6-foot-2, 197-pound James De Haas of Toronto Lakeshore (Ontario Junior League) with the 170th pick. They rounded out the draft by taking a flier on 6-foot-6, 207-pound left wing Rasmus Bodin with the 200th pick, in the seventh round. None of these players will be NHL-ready for at least 4-5 years, but it enables Detroit to stock up on size.

“Now, when you look at the Stanley Cup finals, (Anze) Kopitar (of the Los Angeles Kings) is one of the best players in the world; he’s 6-4,’’ Nill said. “If you’re defending against him and you’re 5-11, you’re not going to stop him. It’s evolution of every sport. Everyone is bigger, stronger, faster. It’s just the way the game is.’‘

Where does it leave smaller, skilled guys?

“I think they’re still going to be there,’’ Nill said. “It’s just you can’t have 20, you got to have the right mixture.’‘

Khan continues and gets a bead on every prospect. I thought Chris Osgood’s comments about Paterson were particularly intriguing…

“He doesn’t rely on his reflexes alone, he challenges,’’ Osgood said. “He plays like (Vancouver’s Cory) Schneider with the athletic ability of (Los Angeles’ Jonathan) Quick, a little bit.’‘

And here’s what Nill had to say about Bodin, who’s big but supposedly quite skilled:

“In the seventh round, he’s a good pick to roll the dice on,’’ Nill said. “We seen him quite a bit. When you get to the sixth, seventh round we were looking for someone with that dimension.’‘

DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose also spoke to Jiri Fischer (who coached Frk with the Czech under-20 team), Osgood and Nill, with Nill sizing up the Wings’ picks as follows:

MARTIN FRK, RW, 2nd ROUND, No. 49: “We’re excited about him, he’s one of Czech’s top players. He had a tough year last year with injuries but as an underage he was one of their top players in World Juniors in Buffalo. Last year he was injured and didn’t play in world juniors. Heavy body, very competitive, he’s got some good skills.”

JAKE PATERSON, G, 3rd ROUND, No. 80: “We saw him a lot in Saginaw. He had a tough first half of the season, the second half he was outstanding and in the playoffs he was probably their MVP. We like him, he’s a competitive goalie. … Chris (Osgood) saw him play a lot. Every draft you want to get a goalie if you can. It’s not a high, high pick getting him, which was good. It was the right spot for him.”

ANDREAS ATHANASIOU, C/LW, 4th ROUND, No. 110: “Another highly thought of kid coming into the season. Played well at Memorial Cup. Great skater, great speed, so we’re excited about his upside. Starting the season he was a high (projected) pick. He played very well for Canada at the under-18s. I think he’s disappointed where he was picked but he’s happy now. It doesn’t matter where you’re picked, it’s the final product that’s going to count. He had an in-and-out season with London, they had a very good team, he was in and out of the lineup a few times, a little bit maturity, he’s a young kid, he wanted to play more, the Hunters are very demanding. They do a good job with him.”

MICHAEL McKEE, D, 5th ROUND, No. 140: “Played in Lincoln (Neb.) last year, going to Western Michigan. Big, strong, tough kid, 6-4, 230, great size, he’s tough, he’s going to a great program, Andy Murray will do a good job grooming. We’ve talked a little about what we need to add of his element and that’s part of the process”

JAMES De HAAS, D, 6th ROUND, No. 170: “He’s a defenseman, 6-2, got good range, skates well, he’ll play in Penticton BC junior for one season and then he’ll go to college after that at Clarkson (Unviersity).”’

RASMUS BODIN, LW, 7th ROUND, No. 200: “Good size, 6-4, 6-5, something like that. Big kid, got some skill. Needs to work on his development. He’s a good pick to roll the dice on. We seen him quite a bit. When you get to the sixth, seventh round we were looking for someone with that dimension. Either a high skilled guy or a big guy who’s got some tools to work with. He’s got the dimension we like.”


Update #5: VERY interesting, from MLive’s Ansar Khan: Wings coach Mike Babcock is excited about the team’s signing of Damien Brunner, which is apparently a done deal:

“I know a lot about him because I went to the World Championships (in May) and watched him play,’’ Babcock said Saturday at the NHL entry draft. “The thing for us is he’s high, high paced, he scored, looks like he has tons of skill. Can he adjust and play the North American game? We’re going to give him every opportunity. He’ll be a top-six forward to start with us and see where he goes with us.’‘

Brunner, 26, isn’t big (5-11, 180), but he’s a fast-skating, highly skilled winger who shoots right-handed. He had 24 goals and 60 points in 45 games for Zug (Swiss-A). Babcock expects to use him on the power play.

“Loves to score goals,’’ Babcock said. “Led the Swiss league (in points) as a Swiss player; I think that’s the first time that’s been done in a long, long time. So good for us.”

Babcock does not view Brunner as a speedier version of Jiri Hudler, the small winger who appears on his way of town out as a free agent.

“Huds can play in traffic and handle the puck and make plays,’’ Babcock said. “This guy (Brunner) is a shooter and a skater.”
“I went to the World Championship and watched this guy practice every day, I watched him play,’’ Babcock said. “I stood in the hallway and let him walk by me. Now, does that mean he’s any good? We think he is. Have I been wrong before? Many times I encouraged Ken (general manager Holland) to come. Ken looked at him and he liked him, too, so we put our best foot forward and we think he’s a good fit. Our top six, (Johan) Franzen and (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg and Fil (Valtteri Filppula) are all left-hand shots. (Brunner) is a right-hand shot who plays fast.”
“The way I look at it is that you have to make decisions and try to get better,’’ Babcock said. “We’ve been able to encourage the kid to join us. He could have gone anywhere he wanted, he chose to be a Red Wing.”

Update #5.5: According to Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz, Todd McLellan had a chat with Mike Babcock and Paul MacLean, and McLellan is doing much better as he continues to recover from a concussion.

Update #5.75: The AP’s Larry Lage has a currently quote-less story out, but these usually get filled out with quotes, and here’s his bare bones article:

The Detroit Red Wings have selected a trio of forwards, a pair of defenseman and a goaltender in the NHL draft.

Detroit didn’t have a first-round pick, then had several selections Saturday.

The Red Wings took Halifax Mooseheads forward Martin Frk in the second round, 49th overall, with their first pick.

Detroit drafted Saginaw Spirit goalie Jake Paterson in the third round; London Knights forward Andreas Athanasiou in the fourth; Lincoln Stars defenseman Mike McKee in the fifth; Toronto Lakeshore Patriots defenseman James De Haas in the sixth; and Swedish forward Rasmus Bodin in the seventh and final round.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland says the franchise plans to be active in free agency with a lot of cap space and opportunities to offer on July 1.


Update #6: If it makes you feel any better, the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell says that those trying to figure out what Justin Schultz, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on Sunday night, actually wants to do are nothing less than baffled;

• Here’s more about Brunner from Babs via the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:

“He’ll be a top six forward to start with us and see where he goes with us,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said of the Swiss-sniper. “I know a lot about him because I went to the World Championships and watched him play. The thing for us is he’s high paced, he scored, he looks like he has tons of skill,” Babcock added. “Can he adjust and play in the North American game? We’re going to give him every opportunity.”

Babcock felt Brunnstrom, who won a job in training camp last season, was a top-six forward last season and he played just five games in Detroit and had one assist. In Grand Rapids he had 12 goals and 23 assists in 45 games. Brunner, who led the Swiss League in scoring last season, agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with Detroit. It’s a deal he’s expected to sign on July 1, barring any complications.

“I went to the World Championship and watched this guy practice every day, I watched him play, I stood in the hallway and let him walk by me,” Babcock said. “Now does that mean he’s any good? We think he is. Have I been wrong before? Many times.”
“I encouraged Ken (Holland) to come, Ken looked at him and he liked him too, so we put our best foot forward and we think he’s a good fit,” Babcock said. “Our top six, (Johan) Franzen and (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Valtteri Filppula) are all left-hand shots, this is a right-hand shot, who plays fast.”

Brunner, 26, is a fast-skating, highly skilled winger that totaled 24 goals and 34 assists in 45 games with Zug of Switzerland’s National League A. Babcock also envisions Brunner playing on the power play.

“He loves to score goals,” Babcock said. “The way I look at it is that you have to make decisions and try to get better. We’ve been able to encourage the kid to join us. He could have gone anywhere he wanted, he chose to be a Red Wing.”

• Here’s a pretty neat fact about the draft in a “By the Numbers” article from NHL.com’s John Kreiser:

1—6-foot-6 player taken in the draft. Swedish defenseman Rasmus Bodin, selected by Detroit in the seventh round (No. 200) was the tallest player selected this year. Three players were 6-foot-5 and 12 more were 6-foot-4; and none of the 16 tallest players went in the first 44 picks.

• Also, via RedWingsFeed, the Score’s Cam Charron offers this “thought from Pittsburgh”:

#3 - I like Detroit’s seemingly endless ability to draft players in the late rounds that I really like going into the draft. Recent examples include Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco, two players who are very much on a crash course with the National Hockey League. They had dealt away their first this year, but landed on Martin Frk with the 49th overall pick, a player who was highly ranked in the 2012 class around the end of last season.

In the fourth round, the Red Wings used their pick on speedy, skilled Andreas Athanasiou. Nobody denies Athanasiou’s talent, but he had a difficult time picking up minutes in Mark Hunter’s London Knight’s system. Part of the problem was a concern about character. Apparently he’s a real tough guy to play and coach, but with the patience exhibited by the Wings’ system, he’s potentially a guy who will turn some heads once they’ve knocked some NHL sense into him.

Update #7: The Macomb Daily drives me nuts. Unless you’ve got an RSS feed, their articles are incredibly hard to find, even on their website, so it’s RedWingsFeed that provides us with Chuck Pleiness’s story on Martin Frk, Paterson and Athanasiou:

“We had [Frk] in the first round, now, everybody says that, but we had him in the first,” Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “He’s a well-known player, so we’re happy he fell (to us). He’s got skill and size and he plays hard. He’s one of Czech’s top players.”
Perhaps part of Frk’s slipping in the draft was due to a concussion he suffered last season, but it’s a risk the Wings were willing to take.

“I had a concussion four months ago,” Frk said. “It happened in preseason game so I’m good, no headaches anymore. I think it sent me down in the draft and I didn’t go to World Juniors, but I’m happy that I can be here and get drafted in the second round.”
In just 34 games last year, Frk did have 16 goals and 13 assists. In 17 playoff games, he had five goals and six assists to help lead the Mooseheads reach the Western Conference Finals.

“You might draft someone who doesn’t have one and then he gets one the next day,” Nill said. “If you get two, three, four (concussions), now you’re concerned. He had a tough year with injuries but as an underage he was one of their top players in World Juniors in Buffalo,” Nill added. “Last year he was injured and didn’t play in World Juniors. Heavy body, very competitive, he’s got some good skills.”
Frk’s path to getting to the Wings began with the help Jiri Fisher, who is the director of player development for the Wings and was the assistant coach for the Czech Republic in at last year’s World Juniors.

“Before the season I believe he was a top-15 pick,” Fisher said. “He likes to hold onto the puck and play with the puck. Guys who hold onto the puck tend to get hit more. It was the first time something like that ever happened to him. He came back and finished the season strong Sidney Crosby had a concussion in juniors,” Fisher added. “I don’t worry about those things, it’s just a matter of how much he wants to bounce back.”

And regarding that “hard to play, hard to coach” Athanasiou?

“I think he’s disappointed where he was picked but he’s happy now,” Nill said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re picked, it’s the final product that’s going to count. He had an in-and-out season with London, they had a very good team, he was in-and-out of the lineup a few times,” Nill continued. “It’s a little bit maturity, he’s a young kid, he wanted to play more. The Hunters are very demanding. They do a good job with him.”

Update #8: And the stories continue to roll in. DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose just filed a profile of Paterson:

Jimmy Devellano stood near the Red Wings’ draft table on the floor of the Consol Energy Center sipping a cup of coffee Saturday morning.Moments earlier, the Wings selected 18-year-old goalie Jake Paterson with their third-round pick – 80th overall – in the 2012 NHL amateur draft. Not knowing much about Paterson’s pedigree, the senior vice president sought an honest analysis from someone who’s quite familiar with the third ranked North American goaltender in this weekend’s draft. Peering over his wire-rimmed glasses, Devellano asked former Wings goalie Chris Osgood to compare the young Paterson to a current NHL netminder. Without hesitation, Osgood, now the club’s goaltending development coach, likened Paterson to the league’s reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner.

“He’s a mixture of Jonathan Quick and (Cory) Schneider,” Osgood said, referring to the goalies from Los Angeles and Vancouver, respectively. “Definitely one of the guys we targeted and hoped would come to us in the third round.”

For Paterson, who grew up a Red Wings’ fan in Mississauga, Ontario, being drafted by Detroit was a bigger than life experience Saturday morning.

“It’s a surreal for sure,” he said. “I was a Wings’ fan growing up so to be picked by the Wings is just an unbelievable feeling right now.”
Osgood spent a considerable amount of time last season scouting Paterson and talking him up to the Wings’ organization. But the biggest thing about Paterson that caught Osgood’s attention was the young man’s peaceful demeanor.

“Watching goalies all my life, I could tell right away he had something for sure,” said Osgood, who won more than 400 games as an NHL goalie. “Obviously he was raw when I first saw him early in the season. As the season went on he really improved. What I like about him is he’s athletic when he needs to be but there’s a calm demeanor to him. When he was playing you could tell his team knew he was calm, a real competitor. They played hard for him. Every time I saw him play, he’s a real good teammate from what I hear on all accounts. He’s high on our list.”
“He plays like Schneider with the athletic ability of Quick a little bit,” Osgood said.

Update #8.5: The Sharks are now confirming to the AP that they’ve signed Brad Stuart.

Update #9: Via RedWingsFeed again, here’re Ted Kulfan’s draft pick capsules:


Round: 2 Pick: 49

Position: C/RW

Ht: 6-foot Wt: 198

Last season: Halifax (Quebec League), 34 games, 16 goals, 13 assists

Scouting report: Has good size and hockey sense and scouts love his shot. He runs a good power play, and plays with a lot of character on the ice. Suffered a concussion last season but returned to the lineup late in the season with no issues. Needs work on his skating, and defensive part of his game.


Round: 3 Pick: 80

Position: Goaltender

Ht: 6-foot Wt: 180

Last season: Saginaw (Ontario League), 18-18-3, .904 save percentage, 3.42 goals-against average.

Scouting report: Played his way into the starting job at Saginaw after a difficult start to the season. Was at his best when the games meant the most, late in the regular season and particularly in the playoffs (6-6, 3.05 GAA, .903 save percentage). A Red Wings fan growing up, Paterson was a fan of Chris Osgood and plays a similar low-key style.


Round : 4 Pick: 110

Position: Left wing

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 165

Last season: London (Ontario League), 63 games, 22 goals, 15 assists.

Scouting report: A small speedster who has big-time offensive skills, and has always shown the ability to score goals. Before the season began, Athanasiou was considered a first-round pick on many mock drafts. An inconsistent season knocked him out of that discussion. The talent is still there and he could be motivated to prove people wrong.


Round: 5 Pick: 140

Position: Defense

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 230

Last season: Lincoln (United States Hockey League) 59 games, 2 goals, 17 assists.

Scouting report: People will focus on the size and the 237 penalty minutes, but scouts think highly of his skating ability and has a good shot from the point. McKee will play at Western Michigan next season. Projects to a tough, imposing third-pair defenseman.


Round: 6 Pick: 170

Position: Defense

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 200

Last season: Toronto Lakeshore (Ontario Junior Hockey League) 45 games, 10 goals, 19 assists.

Scouting report: Will play in British Columbia junior league next season and college hockey at Clarkson in two years. A project, but Wings like his size and overall two-way game. A good puck mover, his mobility is a plus and he’ll get stronger physically and defensively.


Round: 7 Pick: 200

Position: Left wing

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 207

Last season: Östersunds IK (Swedish junior league) 20 games, 3 goals, 7 assists.

Scouting report: This year’s sleeper of the draft? Bodin has imposing size, and has the strength, reach and mobility to be a monster at some point down the line. But he’s extremely raw, particularly with his puck skills, and has still has room to grow into his body.

Update #10: RWC’s Matthew Wuest wrote his first feature on Mr. Bodin:

The Red Wings, on the advice of director of European scouting Hakan Andersson, chose 6-foot-6, 207-pound giant Rasmus Bodin in the seventh round, 200th overall, giving them the tallest player in the draft with their final pick of the weekend. Although Andersson guesses he might be the only NHL scout who watched Bodin play last season, he didn’t want to pass on the big Swedish left-winger’s combination of skating and work ethic.

“For his size and age, he’s a very good skater — he’s not awkward like some guys are that age when they get big,” Andersson said. “He’s got good speed and he really works hard all the time. He plays with good intensity and he works, he works, he works.”

Bodin played in his hometown of Ostersund, which has a third-level pro team and a second-level under-18 junior team — hardly a hotbed for scouts. He averaged close to a point per game at the U-18 level, picking up seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points in 17 games. Andersson saw Bodin play twice after receiving a tip from a friend — the same friend who tipped him off about another Ostersund native, Alexandre Edler, in 2004 — and liked what he saw. That was enough to convince Andersson to get Bodin a tryout with HV-71 in Jonkoping, and Bodin made a big enough impression to earn a contract with the well-known organization.

“I wasn’t sure where he stood, so I got him a tryout … he did two days, on-ice and off-ice, and the coach there really liked him and wanted him right away,” Andersson said.

So just what are the Red Wings hoping for with Bodin?

“At this point, I would say I’m hoping he becomes a bigger version of (current Red Wings forward) Justin Abdelkader, a guy who works hard, uses his body and is a useful guy for the team,” Andersson said.

Update #11: Here’s RWC’s Wuest’s article about Athanasiou:

Athanasiou, billed as perhaps the best skater in his draft class, slipped all the way to the fourth round, 110th overall, where the Red Wings selected him following what many describe as an underachieving sophomore season in the Ontario Hockey League.

“He was like a puzzle,” said Red Wings director of scouting Joe McDonnell. “His underage year, I would have bet money he was going to go in the top 15. He started OK, then just sort of went downhill. Really took himself out of anything we had ever projected.”

The 6-foot 179-pounder had 22 goals among 39 points along with a plus-22 rating in 63 games, finishing eighth in team scoring. But during the Knights’ run to an OHL championship, he found himself a regular healthy scratch and had just a goal and four assists in 11 playoff games. He was again a healthy scratch for the tournament opener at the Memorial Cup in Shawinigan, Que., in May, but returned to score a goal and an assist in three games in London’s runner-up finish.While being a healthy scratch raises some serious red flags, McDonnell said it’s not as bad as it looks and called Athanasiou a “great kid.”

“One game, he’s a healthy scratch, the next game, he’s playing the point on the top power play, dishing off like he’s Nicklas Lidstrom, and I’m thinking, ‘What the heck?’” McDonnell said. “I did a lot of digging on him, and the coaches love him there in London. They’re teaching lessons, and it’s going to help him in the end.”

From McDonnell’s perspective, Athanasiou’s phenomenal skating is the foundation for a sure-fire NHLer, even though it’s not yet clear whether his hands are good enough to make him a scorer.

“He’s going to be able to play just because of his skating ability and his speed,” he said. “Then it’s just a matter of what he’s going to be. Is he going to be a checker or is he going to be a top-two line guy? That’s what’s going to sort itself out the next five, six years. But in my mind, there’s no question he’s going to play because of his skating.”

Update #12: ESPN’s Grant Sonier and Craig Custance doled out draft grades in an insider-only blog entry, and here’s what they had to say about the Wings’ haul:

Detroit Red Wings: C+

The Red Wings are expected to be one of the most aggressive teams in free agency and perhaps the trade market, but it was a quiet weekend on that latter front for GM Ken Holland. They also only had six picks in this draft after trading their first-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the deal that brought defenseman Kyle Quincey back to Detroit. July 1 should end up being a day with far more fireworks than the Red Wings provided during draft weekend.

Sonier’s prime picks: Detroit has a history of drafting skill as one of their priorities and Czech-born Martin Frk fits that mold. Even though he suffered a major concussion, his NHL-rated skill and elite shot were enough for Detroit to select him. Goalie Jake Paterson was ranked third among North American goaltenders, so Detroit gets a value pick in landing him in the third round. But the absence of a Round 1 pick limits their grade.

Update #13: DetroitRedWings.com’s Will Posthumus posted a video of the prospects at PNC Park, where they took in the Tigers-Pirates game:

Update #14: Via the gents at Red WIngs Brasil, the Wings posted a slate of draft day pictures on their Facebook page.

Update #15: Wuest also offers a profile of a player he knows well as he covers the Halifax Mooseheads: one Martin Frk:

The Halifax Mooseheads right-winger suffered a concussion in training camp last August and missed the first four months of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season. For much of that time, he was plagued with headaches and not permitted to train — not even on a stationary bike — meaning he could do little more than sit on the couch.

By the time he returned on Dec. 9, his stock had slipped — from potential top-10 pick to late first-rounder — and although he finished with 16 goals and 13 assists for 29 points in 34 games, he was a consensus second-rounder coming into the 2012 NHL draft in Pittsburgh. That’s where the Red Wings happily grabbed him, 49th overall.

“If he played a full season, he was probably going to be a 30-goal scorer, but he got hurt, and that’s part of the game,” said Red Wings scout Mark Leach. “We love his skills.”

The 6-foot, 193-pound Czech’s best asset is his shot, which might be the hardest in the 2012 draft class. The puck screams off his stick and intimidates opposing goaltenders, although he could stand to take some heat off it to be more accurate. But he’s also got a solid build, with excellent puck protection skills and vision, as well as the ability to beat players 1-on-1. Put it all together and he has all of the assets of a top-six winger who can make noise on the power play.

“He has great ability to get into holes, he can shoot the puck, he knows what to do with it once he gets it and he can score,” Leach said. “He’s got very good work ethic off the ice, he’s willing to compete, he’s willing to battle, he wants to go into the hard areas and get the puck … and he knows what it’s going to take at the next level.”
The Mooseheads, led by potential 2013 No. 1 pick Nathan MacKinnon, have a strong team pegged as a Memorial Cup contender, so Frk is a good bet for a breakthrough in 2012-13 if he gets a healthy start to his season. In the end, the Red Wings hope they landed a player who will put pucks in the net for them.

“He’s a shooter,” Leach said. “He wants the puck on his stick, he gets into the holes and he wants to score. Those assets are very difficult to teach and everybody’s looking for them. We’re very lucky to have him.”

Update #16: Why the hell not. Here’s Wuest’s article about Mr. Paterson:

“In the first half, I had very limited interest in him,” admitted Red Wings director of scouting Joe McDonnell. “In the second half, he just exploded. He did everything well. He handled the puck well, he obviously stopped it, and his confidence was sky-high.”

McDonnell said the Red Wings considered this a deep draft for goaltenders and that they had three ranked in the first round. Although Paterson wasn’t one of them, he was next on their list, just on the outside of their top 30. Paterson, ranked third among North American goalies by Central Scouting, was the ninth goaltender selected.

“We were fired right up to get him where we got him,” McDonnell said.

The 6-foot-2 183-pounder finished last season with an 18-18-3 record and a 3.42 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage, then followed it up with an outstanding 12-game playoff run that featured wins of 36, 42 and 46 saves.

“He led his team,” McDonnell said.

Paterson also scored well in fitness testing at the NHL draft combine. Among 100 prospects, he scored in the top three of two vertical jump tests, second in two push-up tests, first in push strength, seventh in pull strength and seventh in leg power testing. Retired former Red Wings starter Chris Osgood scouted Paterson numerous times in Saginaw and gave him a glowing review.

“He’s one of those goalies who looks bigger in the net,” McDonnell said. “He covers the net well, he covers the bottom of the net real well and he’s very athletic.””

And here’s Wuest’s story on James De Haas, who’s headed to Clarkson University to slowly develop into, um, a Brad Stuart type?

“If he was playing in the (Ontario Hockey League), we would have loved his potential because of his size and skating, but now we’ve got five years to work with him (instead of two),” said Red Wings director of scouting Joe McDonnell. “He’s a long-term project but we think he’s got a lot of upside.”

De Haas produced 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points in 45 games last season, leading the Patriots in defense scoring. He added five goals and seven assists in 21 playoff games, ranking second in scoring among all OJHL blueliners.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and and 197 pounds, McDonnell said De Haas is actually 6-foot-4, and he complements that impressive frame with surprising skating ability. The Red Wings don’t project De Haas as a big offensive guy, rather, more of a calm, steady No. 4 or 5 defender who keeps it simple with the puck and chips in on the second power-play unit from time to time.

“Real good skater, moves the puck, makes a real good first pass,” McDonnell said.

De Haas is still extremely thin and needs to get stronger and be harder to play against in the corners and in front of the net, but the Red Wings hope a lot of that will come with maturity.

“It’s just an overall progression,” McDonnell said. “In the end, he’ll be a good shutdown guy, a guy you can use in any situation.”

Update #17: And Wuest wraps things up by profiling Mike-and-or-Michael McKee:

The Red Wings used their fifth-round pick, 140th overall, in the 2012 NHL draft in Pittsburgh to select the biggest, meanest defenseman they could find — Mike McKee of the United States Hockey League’s Lincoln Stars. McKee checks in at 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds and rang up a USHL-leading 237 penalty minutes last season — including 13 majors — and the numbers don’t lie.

“He’s a guy who’s got an immediate presence on the ice,” said Red Wings scout David Kolb. “He was far and away the toughest kid in that league and probably, in this draft class, he’s got to be right up there.”

McKee, who is headed to Western Michigan to play NCAA Division I hockey for former NHL coach-of-the-year nominee Andy Murray, was actually a forward until just a few years ago, so he’s obviously a raw project. But the native of Newmarket, Ontario, had a good rookie season in the USHL, finishing third in defense scoring on his team with two goals and 17 assists along with a plus-7 rating in 59 games.

“Big man, skates well for his size, real good straight-ahead speed, hard shot,” Kolb said. “He has some tools offensively, but at the end of the day, at the pro level, he’s probably going to be a stay-at-home type.”

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


DrewBehr's avatar

Yay! We didn’t draft anyone under 6 feet!

Least European draft crop ever?

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 06/23/12 at 03:06 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

So, 8 more days.  Will the FA world really explode on noon ET on a Sunday?

Posted by RWBill on 06/23/12 at 03:26 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Very interesting what Mike had to say about Brunner.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 06/23/12 at 06:11 PM ET

scottytooshotty's avatar

Very interesting what Mike had to say about Brunner.

Posted by Hippy Dave

Interesting indeed! Assuming we sign a top six forward our top 3 lines give or take are:
?- Pavel-Franzen
We’re left with Cleary, Bertuzzi, Emmerton, Mursak, Nyquist, Abbie, Tatar and possibly Homer vying for the 4th line. Thats not including the bigger body forward that was mentioned. A trade is surely afoot?

Posted by scottytooshotty on 06/23/12 at 06:28 PM ET


Thanks for all the effort, George.
Already, the analysis by the Score writer likes the Wings’ picks.
Every pick by the rankings looks like they were picked later than they should have been (in other words, “value” picks).
The draftees are bigger.
This is the best I could hope for in this draft without a first rounder, with my almost zero knowledge of the draft, if I’ve read everything correctly..

Posted by Bugsy on 06/23/12 at 08:27 PM ET


Speaking of Grant Sonier, he had Frk 10th among his top second day prospects as far as who would be drafted:

I’m using prognosticator privilege to alter the list a little. I have Brady Vail higher on my final top 50 rankings, but the way this draft has gone—with skill and upside giving prospects the edge—I think Frk will come off the board first. There are some concussion issues to worry about, but he has a high-end to his game that most Day 2 prospects lack. He’s shorter than 6 feet tall, but he’s strong for his size. Consistent effort has been an issue this season as well.
Central Scouting Ranking: 20 (North American)

Yes, it’s ESPN Insider, as well: http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/8086253/2012-nhl-draft-best-available-prospects-day-2

Posted by Bugsy on 06/23/12 at 09:55 PM ET


@ “We’re left with Cleary, Bertuzzi, Emmerton, Mursak, Nyquist, Abbie, Tatar and possibly Homer vying for the 4th line. “

You’re making a lot of assumptions (Like):
Eaves gets healthy (as we saw with Lilja doesn’t always happen). Quincey resigns. They don’t pick up 2x UFA d-men (or forwards). Abdelkader re-signs which is probably a good bet. Giving Brunner becoming a top-6 forward slot. Tatar is staying in GR as he’s still exempt from waivers. Homer will be told there isn’t really room for him as a 4th line forward after training camp—why do it before in case someone gets injured. Cleary if he is close to 100% won’t be vying for the 4th line—he’ll get it. Big Bert gets the same treatment—(if for nothing but his shootout skills which can be the difference between home ice and starting on the road in the playoffs). That mysterious big body forth liner—well that become Bert.

Cory, Jan, and Gustav should be the last 3 forwards competing for a roster spot. If it comes down to keeping 2 of them: look for Cory to be shipped out (probably to Tampa). But I would expect them to ship White or Kindl out first.

Posted by dca from in Mich on 06/23/12 at 11:57 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Sixteen updates, folks, and only a couple of ‘em have to do with Brunner. I’ve been working on these draft day posts since about 9:40, and this one is still going. Mostly about players who aren’t 26-year-old right-handed forwards from Switzerland.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/24/12 at 12:04 AM ET


Few more quotes, from George’s favorite (and ours), Alan Muir, during today’s NHL CNN/SI blog today:

Al Muir:
Good grief…Wings get Martin Frk at 50. Classic Wings pick. Highly skilled player…maybe the second-best pure goal scorer in the draft. Had some injury issues, but this looks like an absolute steal.

Comment From WyattBurp
Is the Wings pick Frk or Frik?

Al Muir:
Frk. He can now afford to buy a vowel.

Al Muir:
Red Wings get Athanasiou at 110. Kid is a tremendous offensive talent. If he can get the fire lit under him he’ll be a player.

Comment From WyattBurp
I’m a Red Wings fan. Too bad they didn’t sniff any D talent. Lidstrom’s a big hole.

Al Muir:
Not the sort of hole they were planning on filling in Pittsburgh. If Suter is willing to go to Detroit—and I think he is—the Wings will open the vault for him

Comment From MoTom
Martin Frk? A genuine steal?

Al Muir:
No doubt Frk is a scorer, and I think a great value pick at that point…but he has plenty of warts. His defensive game is a huge flaw—but that’s something that is said about a lot of QMJHL kids. The issue with him is, does he have the desire to work on that element of his game…or will he be happy just taking the money in Europe? He’s also a very limited skater. That didn’t stop Dave Andreychuk, but he was built differently, both physically and mentally.

Al Muir:
Look, the Wings have a great track record and I have no doubt they’ve got their bases covered here.

Al Muir:
But he’s a classic high risk/high reward pick

Posted by Bugsy on 06/24/12 at 12:37 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

It’s going to be a very fun season to watch this year.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 06/24/12 at 12:42 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.