Every so often amidst the heat of action, a figurative light bulb will go on over Chase Pearson’s head. A moment he’s been drilled for is unfolding and thanks to the experienced advice of his father, Pearson’s preparedness enables him to deal with the matter at hand.
“Yeah, he’s pointed quite a few things out,” notes Detroit Red Wings center prospect Pearson, the son of former NHL forward Scott Pearson. I won’t go into specifics, but there are times, maybe in a shift, where a play comes along and I go, ‘He told me this might happen.’
“Every game is different but that’s happened a few times. It’s almost an ‘Ah ha!’ moment if you will.”
When people utter the expression “been there, done that,” this is what they mean.
— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) September 16, 2021
Chase Pearson can’t quantify how being the son of an NHLer is helping him along his chosen path more so than someone going through this without the benefit of a past NHLer as a sounding board. He’s only experienced his route. However, he knows that the available resource center that his dad provides is helping him to navigate every twist and turn and bump in the road that he’s encountering along the journey.
Hockey, perhaps more than any sport, sees the progression of bloodlines take a place of prominence. Currently in the Red Wings prospect pipeline, several players fit this mold. Besides Pearson, there’s also 2021 draft pick Red Savage. He’s the son of ex-NHL forward Brian Savage. From the 2020 draft, Kienan Draper is the offspring of longtime Detroit forward Kris Draper, currently the club’s director of amateur scouting.
For Pearson, he’s never shied away from the opportunity to get his dad’s input on his game.
Family Sounding Board
“Yeah, he’s obviously that backbone that I can always fall back on and talk to about whatever situation might arise,” Chase said. “He’s been through it all, ups and downs of a hockey career, as everyone who plays does go through.
“So, to have that experience, it helps me gets through the ups and downs if I need it. And the feedback on my game from him is good as well.”
The feedback from the Wings on Pearson’s game is that he took a quantum leap forward last season. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound center’s 8-14-22 numbers with AHL Grand Rapids were identical to his 2019-20 output. The difference being, last season, he assembled those digits in 28 games. He required 59 games to compile them in the previous campaign.
“Last year was huge for me,” Chase said. “I think I got a bigger role in Grand Rapids. I earned the coaches’ trust a little bit more, which enabled me to play in all situations and really take a step forward.
“As far as where I got better, I think I got better defensively and also on the offensive side. I was able to come into my own a little bit, which helped through playing more and gaining confidence.
“I think when you play with confidence, the game comes easier for you.”
Pushing For A Place
The departure of Luke Glendending via free agency opened up a spot for a checking center in Detroit. Picking up the NHL-experienced Mitchell Stephens should logically fill that void. Pearson, though, is approaching training camp with the attitude that the spot is his to earn until someone in the organization tells him it isn’t.
“Yeah, that’s the mentality I have to have if I want to play in the NHL,” he said. “I’ve got to believe it myself. The goal is making the NHL, the Red Wings roster on opening night. Just give them a reason for me to stay. I’m going to try to do that every day and have a positive attitude around the rink. That’s about all I can do and things will fall into place, or they won’t. We’ll see.
“Whether or not I start the year in Grand Rapids, I’m going to shoot for Detroit. Regardless, I think I’ve put in enough time and hopefully if I am in Grand Rapids, I can show that I’m ready to make the next step to the NHL level at some point this year.”