HEY! I want that guy on our Top-Six!
So with the draft over and the Red Wings going for sizable D, speedy scorers, and a goalie who idolized Chris Osgood, there's more than news about players who won't sniff the NHL until 2015 or so. For instance, Mike Babcock is apparently already slotting Damien Brunner into Detroit's top six, despite the fact that they haven't officially signed his contract yet.
"Can he adjust and play the North American game? We’re going to give him every opportunity. He’ll be a top-six forward to start with us and see where he goes with us.''
Well ok then.
Babcock does not view Brunner as a speedier version of Jiri Hudler, the small winger who appears on his way of town out as a free agent.
"Huds can play in traffic and handle the puck and make plays,'' Babcock said. "This guy (Brunner) is a shooter and a skater."
I feel better already.
"I encouraged Ken (general manager Holland) to come. Ken looked at him and he liked him, too, so we put our best foot forward and we think he’s a good fit. Our top six, (Johan) Franzen and (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg and Fil (Valtteri Filppula) are all left-hand shots. (Brunner) is a right-hand shot who plays fast."
We could definitely use a right-hand shot who plays fast.
Wait... what? "Our top six"? Well let's count:
Well fuck me, that's only four people. So I'm guessing that $2M contract for Bertuzzi wasn't to keep him propping up Datsyuk's Wing, huh? Unfortunately, Babs didn't mention anybody else on the roster as a top-six guy either and it's June and free agency hasn't even started and we're looking for a reason, so EVERYBODY PANIC!
So the unspoken part of Babs' mind games saying that the undrafted Swiss league star being a top-six forward without having proven he can transition his game to the North American style is that apparently Gustav Nyquist is also not a top-six forward. Obviously, the Red Wings are going to try to add a scoring winger in free agency, so it sounds like the fear that Babs isn't going to let Goose be a Top Gun is valid.
Of course, Mike Babcock also loves to play mind games and he didn't automatically make Ville Leino or Fabian Brunnstrom a top-six forward just because they ruled the European leagues. We're all going to freak out for the next few months until things really happen and some of us are going to have fun doing it. Just remember that Mike Babcock is a liar and you'll feel better.