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How Soon Until Danielson Plays For Red Wings?

Could 2023 top pick crack lineup in training camp?



Nate Danielson,, Red Wings prospect
How much of a chance does Nate Danielson have of making the Red Wings this fall?

Last fall, as the Detroit Red Wings were getting down to the nitty gritty of selecting the opening-night roster, 2023 top draft pick Nate Danielson was still hanging in there. The teenager would last right until the final cutdown before the Wings were making the decision to return him to junior.

At 18, did he allow himself to entertain the notion that he’d be debuting as an NHLer?

You bet he did.

“I think you always have belief,” Danielson said. “I believe in myself and I believed I could make it, so yeah, I think a little bit.”

Going back to the WHL, Danielson would enjoy an oustanding campaign with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Portland Winterhawks, reaching the league final. Danielson suited up for Canada at the World Juniors. He’d even get a call up to the AHL for two playoff games with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

“It was a good experience for me just kind of knowing, making that jump to pro next year and just kind of knowing the speed of the game,” Danielson said. “Obviously everyone’s older and bigger and heavier and stronger.”

Red Wings Like To Slow Cook Rookies

The standard in Detroit is that no young player will play before his time. It seems like a tradition that’s as old as the octopus.

Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman doesn’t rule out the possibility that someone like Danielson might be capable of breaking through this glass ceiling. But it’s probably not a bet you should be making.

“They’re gonna have to really take a step and that’s possible, if they have a good summer and a good preseason,” Yzerman said of young prospects like Danielson. “But we anticipate most of those kids at least starting in GR.

“Again I don’t have a hard and fast guideline. If we’re in camp and they look like they’re gonna play, we’ll find a spot for them.”

Based on how close he came a year ago, completely ruling out Danielson making the grade seems a bit unwise. He remains someone who oozes belief in himself.

Danielson Carrying A Swagger

“I thought I had a good camp and I thought I got more comfortable as camp went on and into the preseason and things like that,” Danielson said of Detroit’s 2023 training camp. “I just kept on getting more comfortable, more familiar with it. So yeah, that gave me confidence. Definitely.

“It gives me confidence going into this year, too, knowing I can have success and play at this level.”

Certainly, Danielson did nothing during the club’s recent development camp to suggest he’s not trending toward putting himself into the argument for a spot again this fall.

“I thought Nate Danielson was great every day,” Red Wings director of player development Dan Cleary said. “Came here in terrific shape. He talks the talk and he walks it. He does everything right and really showed the way in his testing, his preparation, his professionalism, the way he handles himself, his maturity.

“He’s a really, great young kid.”

A kid who was almost good enough to make the NHL at 18. A year later, Danielson will definitely be one to watch during the 2024 preseason.