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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Red Wings boosted by young prospects during undefeated pre-season

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Michael Whitaker
Always at the front lines of Detroit Sports.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but the Detroit Red Wings are a perfect 4-0 so far in the 2018 pre-season.

Of course, Detroit sports fans know not to put too much stock in pre-season performance. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not encouraging – especially considering that it’s Detroit’s rich prospect pool that has largely propelled them during their win streak. It certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by the veterans of the team, including forward Frans Nielsen.

“It’s been great to see,” Nielsen said. “We need the scoring. We talked at the end of last year that we need to bring in some of those young guys and so far they showed they belong here, so it’s been good to see.”

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2017 first round draft selection Michael Rasmussen has two goals (including the OT winner in Detroit’s first pre-season game) with one assist, along with Evgeny Svechnikov who has also scored twice. 2018 first round draft selection Filip Zadina blasted home his first goal of the pre-season against the Boston Bruins, while defensemen Dennis Cholowski has a goal and two assists and has shown tremendous poise in his time on the ice so far.

“Offensively and skill-wise, they are better than most guys in that room,” Nielsen continued. “Probably better than me, too. I think what they have to learn is the game away from the puck — you can not always make a play with the puck like you might be able to do in junior, sometimes you have to make the simple play.”

The aforementioned Cholowski could be a prime candidate for the Red Wings to have on their opening night roster, especially considering that Mike Green will be absent for the foreseeable future as he battles a virus. Another candidate is Libor Sulak, who has two assists on the pre-season thus far.

“He (Cholowski) skates better than anyone,” Nielsen said. “He seems to be ready. You can’t have too many of those skating Ds. Even the one game I played with (Libor) Sulak, he was a beast out there. Big guy, he can skate up and down the ice. So there have been a couple guys who have been really good for us so far.”

Head coach Jeff Blashill has liked what he’s seen from his defensive prospects.

“I’d say it’s still wide open and there are a couple spots open with Greener out to start the year,” he said. “We’ll see where the next two games take us.”

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