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Getting To Know The Red Wings 2015 Development Camp Defensemen

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Kevin Lidstrom is a little bigger than this now.
Kevin Lidstrom is a little bigger than this now.
Elsa/Getty Images

The Wings brought 13 dfensemen to camp this year, and only 4 of them are Wings property (3 drafted and 1 a free agent signing last year), the rest are all camp invites. Four of the d-men even hail from Michigan!

The Defensemen

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
75 James de Haas D 6.04 210 5/5/1994 DET-2012 (6-170) Clarkson (ECAC) Toronto, ON, CAN

A definite project pick when he was first drafted in 2012, James de Haas has played his way into being a legitimate NHL prospect. From our season review post on the Red Wings' NCAA prospects, Clarkson University head coach Casey Jones had this to say about de Haas:

James made significant progress this year with his overall game away from the puck and has started to emerge as a player that can consistently impact games offensively.

While his coach says his game has progressed away from the puck, his game with the puck is also on the rise. de Haas plays the point on the power play pretty effectively and has a good first pass out of his zone. He led his team in scoring on the blue line, and his responsibilities increased from his freshman year. He definitely will need to work on winning more puck battles, both in the sense of not getting knocked off the puck and in winning the puck back along the walls.

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
53 Joe Hicketts D 5.08 175 5/4/1996 FA Signing Victoria (WHL) Kamloops, BC, CAN

Joe Hicketts was a free agent invite last year who the Wings liked enough to invite back for the prospect tournament and training camp, before signing him to a contract. He's a smallish defenseman who plays bigger and stronger than his vitals may indicate. He's a good skater with good mobility and his playmaking and goal scoring abilities put him near the top of his age group. Last year with the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League, Hicketts finished 2nd in points among all defensemen with 64 pts (12G, 52A) in 62 games, 13th in goals among defensemen, 2nd in defensemen assists, 10th in assists in the entire WHL, 3rd in power play assists in the league, 2nd on his team in points, 1st in assists, and 3rd in pts per game. He just turned 19 a couple months ago, so he has another year in the WHL to continue his development and I believe the Wings hit a home run when they found Hicketts. He stood out last year in development camp and the prospect tournament, now that he's Wings property it'll be interesting to see how he's grown in the last year.

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
79 Patrick Holway D 6.04 201 10/1/1996 DET-2015 (6-170) Boston Advantage (T1EHL) USA

Patrick Holoway was the Wings 5th round pick in this year's draft and has committed to the University of Maine, alma mater of Jimmy Howard and Gustav Nyquist. Holoway also plays Lacrosse and uses it to keep in shape. His hockey coaches praise his athleticism, physicality, and size and say he's an excellent skater. At 6'5" 195 pounds he already had decent size and has the frame to bulk up and fill out. He has a booming shot, and by all accounts has a great attitude and work ethic. His leadership skills are something his coaches also praise. A big defenseman who's a good skater and puck mover, who's also physical, smart, and a leader sounds like a great asset to have.

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
71 Vili Saarijarvi D 5.09 161 5/15/1997 DET-2015 (3-73) Green Bay (USHL) Rovaniemi, FIN

Vili Saarijarvi is a more offensively minded defensemen drafted with the Wings' 3rd round pick in this year's draft. He's a tiny puck moving defenseman who moves well and has a heavy shot from the point. Because of his 5'9" 161 pound body, he's easily pushed around and knocked off the puck. He likes to play aggressively and as he grows and increases his strength he could potentially be an intriguing prospect. The Flint Firebirds of the OHL took him in the CHL import draft 9th overall, but he's signed with Karpat in the Liiga Finish league next year. Last season he played in the USHL for the Green Bay Gamblers and posted 23 points (6G, 17A) in 57 games, finishing 7th on the team in points. He also played for Finland in the U18 WJC, putting up 9 points (3G, 6A) in 7 games.

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
Jalen Chatfield D 6.01 181 5/15/1996 Camp Invite Windsor (OHL) Ypsilanti, MI, USA

Camp invite Jalen Chatfield is a Ypsilanti Michigan native who's currently playing with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. Before Jalen signed with the Spitfires as a free agent, he spent 2 seasons with the Belle Tire U-18 program in Detroit. He's described as an elite skating defenseman with good pucks skills who sees the ice extremely well and makes good decisions. He says he's an offensive player and likes to skate the puck up ice and join the rush. He's a right handed shot too, so the Wings should probably just sign him now. His coach says he's a good all-around player and his current projection is a two-way defenseman. He wasn't drafted into the OHL, and he wasn't taken in the NHL draft, but the Wings want to take a closer look at him and see if they think he's got some NHL potential.

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Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
Grant Gabriele D 6.01 168 4/17/1997 Camp Invite USNTDP (USHL) Brighton, MI, USA

Grant Gabriele is another Michigan native who's a camp invite. The Brighton native spent the last 2 years in the US National Development Program and has committed to Western Michigan for the upcoming season. He was eligible for the 2015 draft but wasn't taken. His favorite player growing up (isn't he still growing up?) was Nicklas Lidstrom, he tries to model his game after Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, and his favorite team growing up was of course the Red Wings. (Source) Gabriele is a solid all-around defenseman who shows great awareness with the puck and has the right attitude about being a defenseman.

"My mom played hockey and I grew up watching her, she was a defenseman. I didn't mind forward but I really liked the action on D. You can control the puck and the play." (Source)

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
Won-Jun Kim D 5.11 179 5/4/1991 Camp Invite Korean National Team Seoul, KOR

Won-Jun Kim is one of two camp invites from the Korean National Team. Former Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek left Grand Rapids after last season to return home to South Korea and coach their national team, and he had a big part in all three Korean players attending NHL development camps (goalie Park Kye-hoon is attending the Dallas Stars development camp). South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympics and both the men and women will have hockey teams competing in the Olympics for the first time. Won-Jun Kim was a member of this year's Division I Group B World Championship Gold Medal winning team and tied for most points by a defenseman (5).

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
Kevin Lidstrom D 6.01 176 3/28/1994 Camp Invite Enkopings (Swe-3) Detroit, MI, USA

Kevin is the oldest of Nick and Annika Lidstrom and chose to follow in his father's footsteps in becoming a defenseman. He's not an offensive defenseman and he plays a more cerebral game rather than a physical one. It's going to be tough for both he and Adam to be judged on their own merrit, without comparisons to The Perfect Human or expectations put upon them because of the name on the back of their jersey, but I'm excited to watch and see what kind of player Kevin is.  Kevin and Adam will be on different teams in camp, and Adam said yesterday that Jiri Fischer did that on purpose to see how they handled going head to head in the corners. A little friendly family competition can be a good thing.

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
Kevin Lough D 5.11 185 3/4/1992 Camp Invite Colgate (ECAC) Kanata, ON, CAN

Kevin Lough is a rising senior at Colgate University of the ECAC. Lough played in 37 of 38 games for the Raiders this past season, registering 2-7-9 totals from the back end. He's probably closer to a defensive defenseman than a two-way defenseman, but don't let the labeling make you think he has no puck skills. Lough provided some good stability on Colgate's second pair with his partner Brett Corkey, and he was OK on a solid penalty-killing unit. He assisted on Mike Borkowski's game-winning goal in overtime in the ECAC tournament semifinal.

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
74 Marc McNulty D 6.07 210 4/5/1995 Camp Invite Kamloops (WHL) Medicine Hat, AB, CAN

After not singing Marc McNulty to an entry level contract this summer, their 2013 6th round pick became a free agent and was eligible to be drafted again this year. No team drafted McNulty and he's back as a free agent trying to prove he can play at a level higher than the WHL. He's a lanky 6'6" defenseman who's generously listed at 210 pounds. When the Wings drafted him they saw a lot of potential in his size, mobility, and reach, hoping he would become a 2-way defenseman with moderate offensive upside. Perhaps McNulty's most glaring weakness continues to be his lack of intensity and compete level. From the time he was drafted, whenever scouts, coaches, or Wings personnel talked about him, they would bring his lack of urgency and intensity up and say he needed to improve in those areas specifically. It's possible the Wings still have their eye on him and are hoping that the experience of not signing, re-entering the draft, and going undrafted would be the wake up call he needs to reach whatever potential they still think he has.

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
Jarrett Meyer D 6.08 249 10/3/1996 Camp Invite Owen Sound (OHL) West Sayville, NY, USA

Jarett Meyer is 19 years old and already massively hugely ginormous, even bigger than Mike McKee! He's a defensive defenseman with very little offensive upside. He obviously has great reach, size, and strength and is a "project" player. Last year he played with Zach Nastasiuk for the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL and 0 points and 18 PIM in 34 regular season games and 1 assist and 2 PIM in 3 playoff games.

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
David Nemecek D 6.04 209 6/9/1995 Camp Invite TPS (Fin-Jr.) Plzen, CZE

From the information I've read, David Nemecek is a big mobile defender who's not necessarily a stand out in any single area, but is a well rounded player who has intrigued many coaches. He spent last year in the Finnish league, but played a year in the OHL and a year in the WHL before that. He's returning to North America this season with the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders.

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# Player Position Height Weight Birthdate Drafted 2014-2015 Team Birthplace
Travis Walsh D 5.11 185 06/041993 Camp Invite Michigan State (B10) Lansing, MI, USA

Travis Walsh has spend the last 3 seasons playing for Michigan State and was on their top defensive pairing last year. Walsh suffered a broken jaw after blocking a shot with his face against Minnesota on February 26th. Despite not being able to finish the season, Travis still had a good season. From his MSU Bio page...

Second Team All-Big Ten ... Voted the winner of the Dr. John Downs Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year award ... Academic All-Big Ten ... Missed the final six games after fracturing his jaw on a blocked shot Feb. 26 at Minnesota ... His 14 points (2g, 12a) were a career high, leading all MSU defensemen and ranking fifth among Big Ten blueliners

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