The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/02/14 at 12:57 PM ET
Red Wings prospect Richard Nedomlel isn't exactly the Next Big Thing, though he is pretty bloody large at 6'4" and 225 pounds. Nedomlel's spent his first pro season not with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins, but instead, the ECHL's Toledo Walleye (in no small part due to the fact that Nedomlel, Max Nicastro, Nick Jensen, Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet and Alexey Marchenko all "turned pro" this season), but Nedomlel's done just fine with Toledo, establishing himself as the kind of defenseman he hopes to become at higher levels of play--a big, mean, steady and stable stay-at-home defenseman.
The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe penned a profile of Nedomlel, and it's worth stand-alone entry status because Nedomlel's particularly forthcoming in discussing his development and goals...
“I try to give my team energy,” he said. “If that means hitting a guy or getting into a fight, I will do whatever I can. I'm known to be tough and physical. I will protect my teammates. I'm a big guy. Hockey is not a sport for girls, so I really enjoy that. Obviously the fans like that. It's nice to give something to the fans. I like to give something back.”
Nedomlel leads Toledo in penalty minutes and has scored eight goals with 10 assists in 53 games. His 120 penalty minutes rank fifth overall in the ECHL.
Walleye coach Dan Watson has been impressed with Nedomlel and said he continues to improve.
“He plays with an edge every shift,” Watson said. “He keeps it simple and smart. He is a very effective hockey player. He's now playing a lot on the power play and penalty kill. So that shows the trust we have in him and how much he has grown over the year. He plays hard every night.”
And there's something to be said for Nedomlel sticking it out on a team that's struggled like nobody's business:
Nedomlel said the Walleye's season-long struggles have been difficult. But he said the team's recent 3-1-1 streak has brightened the mood in the locker room.
“It's gotten better and better,” he said. “This year we won't make the playoffs. But I hope next year coach Watson is back. He has been very good for us. He shows us a lot of videos. We've learned a lot from him.”
Nedomlel said he does not know what the future holds for him. But he said former Red Wings defensemen Jiri Fischer and Chris Chelios, who are still with the organization in advisory roles and are often at Walleye games, have been encouraging.
“I'm not sure what the plan is with me,” he said. “But I'm happy to be playing in Toledo. I will always try to give 100 percent to the game I love. That is just my life. I try to do as much as I can and leave it all on ice.”
Monroe continues, and Nedomlel's comments about his decision to head to North America to play Major Junior hockey, as well as his reaction to being drafted...Are amusing. This is a "fun read" and sometimes we need those.
That, and while Nedomlel doesn't project to be anything more than a 5/6 defenseman at the NHL level, the road role players take and the challenges they face in plowing paths to the NHL are worth highlighting.
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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.