I have a lot of fond memories playing NHL Hits 2002 with my dad when I was in middle school. As I recall it, the game was basically about trying to concuss my opponents with my custom character, a giant rat named Bjorn. And when I would board someone with Bjorn the announcer would say things like “that guy is going to need a dentist!”
Its 2018 and not 2002, so we don’t make light of concussions anymore, but big-bodied defenseman Alec Regula can point any of his checking targets to a pretty good dentist: his dad, the former dentist of the Detroit Red Wings. Yes, with the 67th overall pick in this year’s draft, the Red Wings leaned back on the most egregious nepotism you could imagine and drafted Alec Regula, a right-handed shot on the blue line. He comes in at 23rd on our Top 25 Under 25 list, so lets give him a closer look.
Born: August 6th, 2000
Birthplace: West Bloomfield Township, MI
Drafted: 2018, 3rd Round, 67th Overall, Detroit Red Wings
Current Team: London Knights, OHL
Strengths; or, Primer for Wild Speculation
The kid is a defenseman who is 6’4” and 190 pounds before his 18th birthday. He’s had a lot of good mentors over the years, starting with just being around the Detroit Red Wings organization as a kid thanks to his father, to spending time in the USHL, to playing his first season with the OHL’s cream of the crop, the London Knights (coached by none other than Dale Hunter.) His partner in London was none other than Evan Bouchard. I think we wrote an article once or twice about that guy this last spring. The kid’s got a pedigree of strong hockey minds, for sure.
Regula’s potential is middle pairing, maybe even top pairing in the right circumstances, if he hits it. Future Considerations touts he has a strong defensive game (Bouchard was charged with providing more offense), Regula has great acceleration and some slick stick-handling moves. He uses these tools in coordination with his long reach to force opponents outside toward low-danger areas.
What is more encouraging still is that Regula gained confidence over the course of his first season in the OHL, ending the campaign with 7 goals and 25 points and showing more poise in breaking out the puck, moving up ice, etc. You know, all the stuff the Red Wings really need their defensemen to do well because they currently can’t do them so well. Most of his production as well as his strongest play came in the second half, showing a nice synthesis of raw skills and smarts. It is a sweet combination that creates a top-4 ceiling for Alec Regula.
A Little Something for the Debbie Downers
On the other hand, guys like Regula who are “good-defense-and-chip-in-on-offense” types could just as easily become Brian Lashoff. Yes, Lashoff, a snarly defense-first career AHL player. Coughs up the puck too much, too, among some other bad decisions, like bad pinches to keep the puck in the offensive zone. That is the word on the street anyway. Alec Regula needs to really work his flaws in addition to continue pushing his strengths if he wants to success at the next level. They aren’t the sort of flaws that you can mask, unfortunately.
Also of note is that his shot is nothing to write home about. His slap shot is described as heavy, but slow, like mighty bear, and his wrister is about as exciting as freezer pizza. More creativity in his release will go a long way, but could be a troubling point in his development.
Alec Regula doesn’t turn 18 for a few more days and will most likely spend the next two seasons in London before making the jump to the AHL. That is, unless he makes tremendous developmental strides this next year, but even then, the Wings have time for this kid to develop; they may as well use it.
That doesn’t mean you should lose track of Regula, though. He has had excellent mentoring to aid his development, and that usually translates into a high hockey IQ. I think for that reason Alec Regula is an intriguing third-round pick.
So, is Alec Regula the true #23?
This poll is closed
He’s a crown, not a root canal. Rank him higher!
He’s overrated because of his "Dental Record."
Joren Van Pottelbergh
Previous Top 25 Under 25 Posts
24. Axel Holmstrom, Grand Rapids Griffins
25. Jack Adams, Union College