(Editor’s Note: This is another installment of Detroit Hockey Now updates on some of the Detroit Red Wings’ top prospects. Today’s subject is Wisconsin recruited defenseman Brady Cleveland).
“That’s kind of what I pride myself on,” acknowledges Cleveland. “I like to be that guy who’s mean and physical and get up in your face and be hard to play against.
“It doesn’t matter what game, what scenario, I’m going to be out there and make it a nightmare for you.”
Absolute Honor to be drafted by the Detroit Red Wings. Thank you!! pic.twitter.com/jjjdxoynBD
— Brady Cleveland (@_bradycleveland) July 2, 2023
Looking to the future, Detroit GM Steve Yzerman was setting out an agenda to grow his team’s size and also to create a roster that will be a handful for the opposition. Cleveland checks off all those boxes.
“He’s just an element that we like,” Red Wings assistant GM and director of amateur scouting Kris Draper said of the 6-foot-5, 211-ound Cleveland. Detroit made him the 47th overall selection of the 2023 NHL entry draft.
“He can skate, he can defend hard,” Draper said. “He has a bit of a mean streak and obviously he’s a big kid.
“It was somebody that we decided to go with there.”
You find much that is pretty about Cleveland’s game, other than that it’s pretty intense. His offense amounted to three assists for the USNTDP in 19 USHL games last season. Cleveland was second on the club with 60 penalty minutes.
“For me it’s just I’m a role player,” Cleveland said. “Penalty kill, 5-6 defenseman, big, heavy, physical. That’s how I play my game.”
The previous season, he garnered two assists in 26 games, along with a team-leading 75 PIM.
“He’s got size, and is a big, strong, physical defensive defender that has an edge and kind of embraces that side of it,” Draper said. “He was used in a shutdown role and obviously in penalty kill situations as well.”
Red Wings Forecast
The Red Wings won’t need to be in any hurry to make a decision on where Cleveland fits into their organization. He’s heading to Wisconsin in the fall to play college hockey for the Badgers.
“The Badger hockey program, obviously they have a long history,” Cleveland said. “The last few years they’ve struggled but for me it’s just going in there, just being able to be kind of a leader and part of that new group and go in there with a new coaching staff and just work, work and play to win.
“I think that’s the biggest thing for us to get Wisconsin hockey back on track.”