Detroit Red Wings defensive prospects William Wallinder and Shai Buium have taken different paths as they continue their climb through the Red Wings pipeline. Wallinder’s literal route to Detroit, however, was disrupted by the airlines.
“Our flights got cancelled and we lost our baggage,” Wallinder explained for his delay into Detroit’s development camp. “I borrowed skates and the rest is new equipment.”
In spite of that, it hasn’t taken away from Wallinder’s short time in camp.
“It’s a great experience to be here,” Wallinder said. “It’s fun to meet all of the guys. Maybe we’ll be teammates in the future. It’s good to meet them.”
Wallinder is a 6’4 defenseman and idolized players like Niklas Kronwall growing up, someone who is now directly involved in his development in his role as special assistant to Detroit GM Steve Yzerman. What has Kronwall helped him with so far?
“Everything in my game, all the small details,” Wallinder replied.
Wallinder’s journey to Detroit has gone through a club Red Wings fans know well, Rögle BK, which is where reigning Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider played. Likely to have one final season left with the club, Wallinder knows he’s honing his skills for his arrival full time in Detroit.
“It’s hard to tell,” he replied when asked about his game on North American ice. “Hopefully, it translates pretty easy so it’s just like playing as usual.”
Buium Can Draw upon His National Championship Experience
Red Wings prospect Shai Buium had a shorter trip than Wallinder getting to the Red Wings development camp. And while he hasn’t been playing in a professional league, his experience as a national champion with the University of Denver will help him on his journey as a prospect.
“Kind of learning just how hard it is to win,” Buium said. “Also seeing all the older guys putting their hearts into the game. You learn how to mature your game and build a respect a game. You really want to win.”
Not bad in terms of winning as Buium enters his sophomore year at Denver. His answer regarding his second college season shows a similar theme for many of Yzerman’s draft picks: a knack for leadership.
“I want to be a role model for the freshmen,” Buium said. “We have two new incoming freshmen defensemen that I want to show them the way. it’s hard to win so hopefully we’re going to do that again.”
Buium, too, spoke highly of the chance to get schooling from Kronwall.
“Working with Niklas Kronwall is pretty awesome,” Buium said. “He’s an NHL legend and he teaches you a lot of things. Just trying to bring it into my game on the blue line.”
And his impression of Steve Yzerman? Not as “terrifying” as Oskar Sundqvist’s experience, but certainly one that stayed with him.
“i was definitely intimidated at first,” Buium said with a smile. “He’s a really good guy and pretty easy to talk to, I mean, he communicates well with us. It’s pretty surreal though because he’s an NHL legend of course.”
Both players talked about the importance of inundating the advice given to them into their respective game. Regardless of the path taken there, both trails could meet up for a long stay in Detroit.