If the Detroit Red Wings don’t offer amateur tryout defenseman Jeremie Biakabutuka a contract, he will have an opportunity to play professional hockey.
Chicago Wolves executive Gene Ubriaco told Detroit Hockey Now his team offered Biakabutuka an AHL deal. Ubriaco and Wolves GM Wendell Young liked his play at the NHL Prospect Tournament at Traverse City, Mich. Ubriaco is the team’s director of hockey operations.
“If you want to find a diamond in the rough you have to find someone who sparkles,” Ubriaco said. He is a former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach.
Undoubtedly, Biakabutuka wants to see what happens with the Red Wings before making decisions about his future.
Jeremie is the nephew is former University of Michigan and Carolina Panthers running back Tim Biakabutuka. Initially, he played football. However, at age 10, he switched to hockey.
— Joe Chapp (@DetroitJoeChapp) September 16, 2022
He has grown into a 6-foot-4, rugged defenseman. He played the past four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The NHL passed over Biakabutuka in the draft.
Ubriaco likes Biakabutuka’s compete level and ice awareness. “For a young player, his defensive play is on the ball,” Ubriaco said. “Also, he’s quick to engage and quick to the puck.”
The Wolves hope to sell Jeremie on the idea that the Wolves have a history of developing NHL players. “We tutor players,” Ubriaco said. “We will get him there.”
Red Wings Like Biakabutuka
Detroit coach Derek Lalonde has spoken positively about Biakabutuka. He was in the lineup for Wednesday’s preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“Driven kid, he wants to be coached,” Lalonde said. “Looks you in the eye. Little habits like that, you appreciate as a coach. He’s made a good impression. ”
Biakabutuka, however, survived the Red Wings’ first cut.
His uncle is well known in Michigan. In 1996, Tim Biakabutuka amassed 313 yards rushing to lead Michigan to a 31-23 upset over the No. 2-ranked Buckeyes. He ruined the Buckeyes’ national championship aspirations