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Red Wings Prospect Decides To Change Schools



Brady Cleveland, Red Wings prospect

When 6-foot-5 Red Wings prospect defenseman Brady Cleveland committed to play college hockey at Wisconsin, the decision made perfect sense.

He was Wausau (Wisc.) West High School student heading to an in-state school to play for Tony Granato, a coach who established his NHL credentials by playing for the Badgers in the 1980s.

But earlier this month, the Red Wings second-round draft pick (47th overall in 2023) decided the Wisconsin fit isn’t right for him. Cleveland entered the NCAA’s transfer portal and quickly signed to play at Colorado State College. Cleveland announced his decision on social media.

Forward Sam Stange, a 2000 Red Wings draft pick (97th overall), also left Wisconsin through the transfer portal to sign with Omaha. He will be a fifth-year senior this fall. He attended the Red Wings’ development camp last summer.

A third Badgers player, sophomore Charlie Stramel, a 2023 Minnesota Wild first round pick, left through the portal to sign with Michigan State.

More Playing Time

Cleveland clearly is looking for an expanded opportunity with Colorado College. By the time Cleveland arrived at Wisconsin, Granato had been fired and replaced by Mike Hastings.  Cleveland only played 17 games last season as a freshman, ending up as a healthy scratch on too many nights.

Colorado College is in the midst of retooling. Five players left through the transfer portal, including three defensemen. Senior defenseman Jack Miller turned pro with the Ontario Reign (AHL). Another defenseman, Connor Mayer, signed with an ECHL team.

The Red Wings drafted Cleveland with the idea he can mature into a strong defensive-minded blueliner. Detroit scouts liked his edginess.

“That’s kind of what I pride myself on,” Cleveland said when he was drafted. “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.”

Cleveland is a good skater, and if he could develop some offensive skill it would be a bonus