This was a surprise, for sure. I like the kids we have, and like what’s coming down the pipe. Joe Veleno surprised me, and I was expecting him to be really good. In 4 games he had 7 goals and 1 assist. One goal was an empty net in game 3, but in the other three games he had 2 goals. Good grief that’s consistent. And, it’s impressive. This kid wants a job right now with the big club. Reminds me a great deal of Dylan Larkin at 19. If we have two centers below 23 that are really that competitive, we’re in better shape than I thought.
George Malik posted some really good post game thoughts here: http://themalikreport.com...e-game-notes-from-wakiji/
I really like George. He works hard, does it on his own dime. If you like his columns please consider donating. He’s grinding it out and I really appreciate it. I can’t be in Traverse City and it’s really nice to have people on the ground reporting back. I just write my thoughts from afar and benefit from those people.
My second standout impression is Moritz Seider. He’s been talked about a ton, and Russ Cohen seems to have had his number early on. This kid can skate and makes plays in tight. Granted, it was a prospects tournament. But it is really hard for most 18 year olds to impress there. It’s much harder for an 18 year old defenseman to impress. He’s done it. With an aging defensive corps in Detroit he has a legitimate shot to take a job. Now he has to take it. Tie goes to the veteran (typically) so he has to be good enough to be top 4 or else he gets better minutes in GR. This will be exciting.
Givani Smith and Chase Pearson also impressed. Filip Zadina, he is trying to find his way right now. Joe Veleno has surpassed him in excitement/enthusiasm toward a prospect. Zadina made some really good plays. He assisted on at least 3 of Veleno’s goals. But, he needs to score. That kid is torturing himself every time he doesn’t. He expects a lot more of himself, and that’s good, but it can also be stifling. I am hoping a veteran takes him under their wing at camp and gets his confidence going a bit. He needs some perspective and patience, but I love his attitude. He wants to be a difference maker.
As exciting as Detroit’s 3-0-1 record was, and winning for only the second time in this tournament, it had flavors of what the big club is fighting. Not enough Defensive awareness, lulls that cost goals, and needing a goalie to bail them out way too many times. To me, Dallas looked much more solid and consistent. The structure they preach helps bring out the best in players and more often than not will win a game like the final. Chase Pearson’s hat trick and Veleno’s two tallies saved the day, but that kind of comeback and play won’t win in the long run. Those teams are hot and cold and when they’re cold, they’re ice cold.
The Wings are building something very special, but as someone who’s dealt with bipolar issues, I foresee a season of highs and lows that will cause me to request an increase in meds. Still, the good times will be really good and really fun.