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Bedard Nemesis Danielson Taken by Red Wings at Ninth Overall

Danielson was captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings at the age of 17

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Nate Danielson, Red Wings prospect
Nate Danielson gives the Red Wings a safe, solid two-way center.

When the Detroit Red Wings were discussing Nate Danielson, one aspect of his game led to the raising of eyebrows during their assessment.

Connor Bedard, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2023 NHL entry draft, counts Danielson among his closest friends and most difficult opponents. It was the latter aspect of the relationship that the Red Wings found most appealing.

“One of the things that was interesting for us was Connor Bedard talking about in the West,” Red Wings director of amateur scouting Kris Draper explained. “Danielson was one of the toughest players to play against.

“That kind of stands out in an interview. When we heard that, it was something that put a little smile on our face.”

In fell swoop, Detroit GM Steve Yzerman went off the board and played it safe when he was tabbing Brandon Wheat Kings center Danielson with the ninth overall selection of the NHL entry draft.

“We like all parts of his game,” Yzerman said of the 6-foot-2, 187-pound center. “He’s got pretty good size, he’s a good skater, he’s got good skills. He’s a good two-way centerman.

“A lot to like about him really. Just a solid all-around prospect.”

Danielson A 200-Foot Player

Danielson was displaying offensive acumen, finishing the WHL season with 33 goals and 78 points. But it was his ability to play the game in all facets and all over the ice that the Red Wings found to be most appealing about the player.

“I think just that I’m a well-rounded player,” Danielson estimated as his greatest quality. “I play well in all areas of the rink. Offensively very skilled, defensively I’m responsible.

“I think just that all-around game was a big part of it.”

You’re not going to get any highlight-reel plays of the day out of Danielson’s game. What you are going to get is the plays that pay off in success at the end of the day. And you’re going to get them from him day after day after day.

“He’s a guy that plays in all-situations,” Draper said. “He just plays the game the right way. Impressive young man in the way he talks, the way he presents himself.

“We feel we have a player that’s real passionate about the game.”

Wore Captain’s C At 17

The Wheat Kings were naming Danielson as their captain this season, even though he was just 17, as many as three years younger than some of his teammates.

Certainly Yzerman, who was named captain of the Red Wings in 1986 at the age of 21, saw this as an intriguing element of Danielson’s character.

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“I think he’s got to be a solid kid,” Yzerman said. “(Detroit chief amateur scout) Jesse (Wallin) knows him well. Our Western scouts know him well and he’s a really solid young man, very professional.

“Good people. We all want good people around us. I think he’s a fine young man.”