It’s been six long seasons without playoff action for the Detroit Red Wings. However, several top prospects in the Detroit organization are sensing that championship feeling.
Numerous players climbing the ladder of the Red Wings chain won titles in their respective leagues last season. It might not be the Stanley Cup playoffs but it’s a title, and that’s a big deal at any level of the game. Making a long playoff run in whatever the league in which they are playing is an important step in the development of a player.
“I just think it’s great for their confidence, great for development, playing in playoff series, or college hockey winner go home sudden-death games,” Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman said. “I think they’re tremendous experiences. You build up your nerve, you build up your resolve.”
Three Future Red Wings Won With Denver
A trio of Detroit draft picks – forward Carter Mazur and defensemen Shai Buium and Antti Tuomisto – helped the Denver Pioneers win the NCAA title.
“Learning how hard it is to win,” Buium felt was a vital element in the development curve for him. “You just kind of build this respect for the game and you just want to win. You really want to win.”
— Carter Mazur (@Carter_Mazur) July 16, 2022
Both Buium and Mazur claimed the national championship during their first season of college hockey.
“You don’t expect to come in and make such a big difference on a team,” Mazur said. “I felt like it went pretty well and was excited about how the team finished the year by winning.”
Kasper, Wallinder Were European Champions
Detroit’s 2021 first round pick Marco Kasper and defenseman William Wallinder were teammates with Rogle as that club won the European Champions League title. Defenseman Albert Johansson won the Swedish League crown with Farjestad.
In the junior ranks, goaltender Sebastian Cossa, a 2021 first round pick, backstopped the Edmonton Oilers to the Western Hockey League title. While winning was certainly an important element in the equation, Cossa also went to school as he was learning about the physical and emotional demands required to remain on top of his game over the two-month playoff grind.
“I think just recovery, learning to kind of take care of my body,” Cossa listed as an added benefit from playoff success. “Luckily, we got lucky with the first couple of rounds being sweeps but other than that, the past couple of rounds and going into the Memorial Cup your body’s beat up.
“It’s been a long season, so just kind of taking care of it and still playing at your top game.”
UPDATE | Dylan James and Fraser Minten have been added to 🇨🇦’s National Junior Team summer development camp.
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) July 12, 2022
In the USHL, 2022 second round selection Dylan James was helping the Sioux City Muskateers capture the Clark Cup title.
“That was an unreal experience,” James said. “We made a couple of trades before playoffs and that really helped us.
“In the second round we played Tri City. They were number one going into the playoffs. We beat them in three games. That was huge for our team and our confidence, everyone’s confidence really.
“Obviously winning the ‘ship’s not bad. It obviously feels good. It builds your confidence.”
Winning Or Losing, It’s All Life Experience For Future Red Wings
As well, Simon Edvinsson, Theodor Niederbach and Elmer Soderblom (Frolunda, ECL), Pontus Andreasson (Lulea, SHL), Eemil Viro (TPS Turku, SM-liiga), Pasquale Vito (Windsor, OHL) and Oscar Plandowski (Charlotteton, QMJHL) wound up playing in the finals of major events, even though their teams were vanquished at the last stage.
Yzerman believes whether players win or lose in a championship round, just surviving the grind and getting there is a benefit in itself.
“There’s a lot to be learned from winning and losing,” Yzerman said. “We’re very happy that some of these kids got a chance to go deep into their playoffs, or even win a national championship, or a championship in some cases.
“I think it’s great for their confidence as hockey players but also in their development, to be thrown into these situations and have to perform.
“Win or lose, you’re getting a lot out of it.”