With their second to last pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings pick Mitchell Callahan in the sixth round (190th overall). The right winger had 13 goals and 14 helpers in 70 games with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL. Sounds like he's the tough, enforcer type so that's something new for us -- 20 fights in the WHL this year alone according to HockeyFights.com.
Born: August 17, 1991 (Whittier, CA)
Position: Right wing (shoots right)
Size: 5-11, 175 pounds
“He’s a little ball of trouble,” Nill said of Callahan, who was unranked by NHL Central Scouting. “Every time he’s on the ice something happens. He’s fearless. We don’t have a lot of that in our organization and we hope he turns into a Sean Avery-type, a real instigator type.”
Callahan could be a crowd favorite if he ever makes it to Joe Louis Arena. He had 188 penalty minutes in Kelowna (Western League) last season and is one of the league's best fighters.
"He's a tank," Nill said.
Strengths: Excellent fighter. Fearless style and works hard. Just enough skating and skill to be interesting.
Weaknesses: Might not have the frame to play his style at the next level.
Who'd have thought the toughest guy from the Dub in this year's draft would be from Southern California? The rugged style and fighting ability is the big draw here. But has just enough skating and skill to make for an intriguing middle round sleeper.
Great on-ice work ethic. Is strong defensively and a decent penalty killer. Lots of improvement from September to March this season. I think there could be some hidden offensive upside. Even if his best case upside is only a 5-10 goal scorer in the NHL, with the defensive play, physical style, and willingness to drop the gloves, that could be a really valuable guy to have.
ANALYSIS: The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder finished third in the WHL with 188 penalty minutes en route to the Memorial Cup final with Kelowna. He plays a robust style, drops the gloves in a heartbeat and produced 27 points along the way. He'll get more ice time in 2009-10 and how he responds will be telling.
You have to feel especially happy for Mitchell Callahan. A tryout at Rockets training camp last fall and now he is associated with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings. Callahan is simply a good news story. When the Wings were making their second to last pick at the draft Saturday, they must have been looking for a player with no fear and someone who has a competitive edge. That player is Mitchell Callahan. Callahan led all WHL rookies in fighting majors with 20, and frankly could have had more had the coaching staff not pulled back the reins to contain his enthusiasm to chuck the knuckles. No question Callahan has many rough edges, but the Wings see a player who will go through the wall for his teammates, a trait you simply can't teach. The Wings have a proven track record of making astute moves late in the draft, and with a little time and patience along the way, maybe Callahan can be playing in Motor City someday.