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Red Wings Prospect Defying The Odds

Finnie earned Detroit contract as seventh-round pick



Emmitt Finnie, Red Wings prospect

Detroit Red Wings prospect Emmitt Finnie left the NHL entry draft with a chance and on a mission.

“Definitely I feel like I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder going into the year,” Finnie said. The draft was nearly reaching its conclusion when Finnie finally got to hear his name called. He was made the 201st overall selection by Detroit.

On the one hand, he was delighted.

“To get drafted is obviously an honor it itself,” Finnie said.

On the other hand, he was filled with determintion to be making the teams that passed on him live with regret.

“I feel like people looked over me a little bit, so I just wanted to make the most of my opportunity,” Finnie said.

Consider that mission accomplished. Finnie went back to junior with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL and lit it up. He would go on to post career highs with 19 goals and 40 assists. He was sharing team MVP honors.

“We had a younger team this year in Kamloops, so I took a bigger role offensively,” Finnie explained. “I logged some big minutes for our team, so I felt like I put myself in a great spot.

“I was trying to play a two-way game. Thankfully it worked out.”

In March, the Red Wings were signing their 2023 seventh-round pick to an entry-level contract.

“I was on the bus driving to (Prince George) when my agent called me and told me they offered me a contract,” Finnie said. “I felt like I put myself in a spot to be signed but you’re never sure if you’re gonna get it.”

Red Wings Pick Sees Action With Griffins

Still only 18, the 6-foot-1, 183-pound center would join the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins at the conclusion of the season in Kamloops. Finnie was supposed to be there to observe and to learn. Almost immediately, he was given the best seat in the house. He wound up suiting up for three AHL games.

“He wasn’t even supposed to get into games and we needed him,” Grand Rapids coach Dan Watson said. “For him it was great, an 18-year-old kid to come out here and get opportunities against really good teams.

“His first game was against Milwaukee, the best team in our division. For him to be able to come in and do that speaks volumes.”

Finnie Heading Back To Junior

Next season will see Finnie back with the Blazers for his final season of junior action. But he’ll be going back there with a contract in his back pocket and a map defining a route to pro hockey foremost in his mind.

“Another guy that has to get stronger,” Watson said. “But he works, he’s smart. He’s gonna be a good center man. He’s got the length and the stick. I like the skills that he has.

“Overall, I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen here in the last few weeks.”