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Red Wings Draft Forward With NHL in His DNA

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Derek Plante, Red Wings

LAS VEGAS — Even now as a Detroit Red Wings second round draft pick, Max Plante is still no better than the third most famous Plante from Hermantown, Minnesota.

His father Derek played 450 games over eight NHL seasons, and helped the Dallas Stars win the Stanley Cup in 1999. His grandfather, Bruce, was a legendary high school coach in Hermantown. He retired with a record of 547-197-23. Max isn’t even the first Plante of his generation to be drafted by the NHL. His older brother Zam was drafted in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2020.

Max Plante appreciates the advantage he has had growing up in this proud hockey family.

“I’m very lucky and fortunate to be around such great hockey people,” Plante said. “I’d say my dad probably watches more hockey than anyone probably in the world. So growing up coming home I’d skate on the outdoor rinks, I’d come home and my dad would be watching hockey, so there was nothing else on the TV, I’d just be watching hockey.”

NHL Draft Analyst Russ Cohen of NHLdraftbuzz.com says the Red Wings are getting “the smartest player in the draft.”

Plante played this past season for the U.S. National Team Development Program. “Max plays with a lot of pace,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, who oversees USA Hockey’s national teams. “Very good IQ and a lot of courage. He’s a winning hockey player who comes from a great line of great hockey players. He is a fun-loving kid.”

Plante says his dad probably “taught me pretty much everything I know about hockey.”

He offered two bits of advice for Max in preparation for his draft year. “Be yourself,” Plante recalled his dad saying. “And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

Minnesota-Duluth Connection

Max and Zam are making it easy for the family to watch them play next season because they are both playing for Minnesota-Duluth.  Of course that’s where their dad played, scoring 96 goals over his four seasons at the school.

“I’m really excited to go play with Zam,” Plante said. “Two years off of playing with each other. I think we probably miss playing with each other, playing give and go hockey together. Hopefully we get to play together this year at Duluth. It’s really special that we’ll be able to play together, a dream come team to play for the Bulldogs.”

Max calls it a “dream come true” to play for the Bulldogs. He said he couldn’t see himself wearing any other jersey.

“I’m really excited to go play with Zam,” Max said. “Two years off of playing with each other. I think we probably miss playing with each other, playing give and go hockey together. Hopefully we get to play together this year at Duluth. ”

The Plante boys grew up trying to compete against their dad in pond hockey.

“Oh yeah, We had a backyard rink at our house and we used to play,” Plante said. “Me and my older brother Zam and my little brother (Victor) who’s going to the development team next year and my dad. My dad was probably better than us but he was so much bigger when we were younger but we put up a good fight.”

What about now? Derek is 53.

“I think he’s probably scared to compete against me now,”  Max joked. “But when he used to play he was super fast. “

Unique Idol

Young Plante says feisty and skilled Brad Marchand has always been his favorite player.

“I know a lot of people don’t like him,” Plante said. “But I feel, being smaller when I was younger, the way he handled everything and didn’t give a crap what anyone else did to him, he just went out and played and created so much plays, it was cool.”

But there’s only one Marchand, and it’s hard to model your style off him. The Red Wings are getting a skilled player.

“I guess I try to be like (Marchand), but he’s really special,” Plante said. “I don’t think I have as good edge work, maybe not as tenacious as him doing some of that stuff. I’d say I’m a little bit like him, but a couple player I try to model after is like Claude Giroux or Jake Guentzel.