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Red Wings Hopeful Biakabutuka Joins Islanders

Jeremie Biakabutuka was released from an amateur tryout with the Red Wings



Jeremie Biakabutuka, Red Wings prospect

Brought to Detroit Red Wings rookie camp on an amateur tryout, Jeremie Biakabutuka was one of the feel-good stories of the NHL preseason. He hung on in Red Wings camp until the very last day. His invitation to camp was only extended at the last minute following an injury to Red Wings draft pick Tnias Mathurin.

As the nephew of former Michigan Wolverines and NFL running back Tim Biakabutuka, Jeremie’s arrival in camp came with instant name recognition.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a tale with a happy ending. Ultimately, the Red Wings were making the decision to release Biakabutuka from his amateur tryout.

This past weekend, Biakabutuka was back on the ice. He’s now an Islander. No, not those Islanders. He didn’t land on Long Island. Biakabutuka is playing with his junior club, the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL, as an overager.

In his season debut, Biakabutuka scored two goals and added an assist as the Islanders were rallying for a 4-3 road win over the Cape Breton Eagles. He ended up scoring the winning goal at the 55-second mark of overtime.

In three games for Charlottetown, he’s showing three goals and an assist.

Biakabutuka Presented AHL Offer

Biakabutuka was tendered the offer of an AHL contract from the Chicago Wolves, so it’s interesting that he’s opting to return to the junior ranks.

At 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds, he certainly possesses the requisite size sought in an NHL rearguard. During camp he was displaying good mobility, puck-moving skills and an edge to his game.

“I’m a big defenseman with good mobility and speed, so obviously they want to see me play good defensively, see me finishing my check, be physical,” Biakabutuka said in self assessment. “Using my speed to join the rush.

“I have a good shot, too, so take shots on the net. I consider myself a two-way defenseman, so doing all that and not creating a turnover every shift. Just be hard to play against and join the rush when I have a chance to.”

Have we seen the last of Biakabutuka in Red Wings colors? The fact that he’s making the choice for another year of junior rather than turning pro with the Wolves leaves open the possbility that he could still have an NHL future.