Is there any particular reason why KH wouldn't give this kid a contract? He's 6th in scoring amongst d-men in the AHL right now (though he has played more games than most on the list of top 20), seems to be reasonably responsible in his own end, and after his hat-trick last night you have to wonder if there may be something there. Is it perhaps because he's still a bit of an unknown quantity seeing as it's his first season in the AHL? Could Kenny be waiting til next year to give him an invite to training camp just to see if he can keep up with the big guys? With Sproul and Ouellet at least a few years away Detroit's pool of notably promising defensive prospects drops off a bit after Lashoff who appears to potentially be up for good(?)
He seems to have taken a bit of a leadership role in Grand Rapids (he captained his Ferris State team to the Frozen Four finals as well) which could be a nice thing to have amongst young guys if/when he ever happens to make the NHL with the Wings being in a bit of a transition period/youth movement and all. Being a Michigan-born guy can't hurt his case either.
Little more info on his AHL bio page... http://theahl.com/stats/player.php?id=4555