Red Wings Top 25 Under 25: Zach Nastasiuk

Zach Nastasiuk bounced between Toledo and Grand Rapids in the 2015-16 campaign. Will this be the year he can establish a permanent spot with the Griffins?


Position: RW/C

Shoots: Right

Born: March 30, 1995 (21 years old)
Birthplace: Barrie, Ontario
Height/Weight: 6'1" / 190 lbs.


Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM +/-
2015-16 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 27 3 5 8 4 -2
2015-16 Toledo Walleye ECHL 25 10 10 20 10 18

Nastasiuk split time between the Griffins and Walleye in the most recent season, struggling to find consistency until some time with the Fish helped him find his scoring touch. The 21-year old played five games for the Griffins in both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, but ultimately spent most of his time with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL (I know the team plays in Owen Sound, but I prefer to think they named their mascot the Sound Attack since that's cooler and sounds like a corny pop punk band).

The 2013 second-round pick spent four seasons with Owen Sound, increasing his point total every year, building from 19 points in 68 games in 2011-12 to 77 points in 64 games during the 2014-15 season.


As far as his performance at each level is concerned, I prefer to rely on the opinions of those who were able to watch a good deal of Nastasiuk last season.

For his ECHL performance, WTOL sports anchor and reporter Jordan Strack had this evaluation:

He's a power forward. Can play wing and center. Not a terrific skater. Has to play faster to be an impact guy in GR this year. That is one thing that has held him back a little bit. Some people I talked to after the season ended believe he's still got NHL potential, but it's probably as a depth forward. ... Great locker room guy. Handled bouncing back and forth like a pro this year.

And as far as his AHL performance is concerned, Jason gave him a C in his second half Griffins report card:

Nastasiuk split the season between the AHL and ECHL in his first pro season. After a lackluster first half he found his offensive game in the ECHL and showed a little spark in limited time with the Griffins scoring his first 3 AHL goals. A banger who excels at the defensive side of the game, Nastasiuk should be a regular in the lineup next season on the 3rd or 4th line. His footspeed, though improved, remains the hurdle he will have to overcome next.

The common theme here is that a lack of footspeed hurts Nastasiuk and it's likely what separates him from reaching the lofty expectations the organization had for him after drafting him in the second round in 2013.

NHL Future

While Nastasiuk is only 21 years old, it is concerning that a player the Red Wings drafted in the second round three years ago will likely be spending the bulk of his time working on his footspeed and his puck skills.

He has a great mind for the game and showed leadership as captain of his OHL squad in his final two years there. Nastasiuk is also responsible with the puck and is a very good penalty killer, but that's not going to push him over the top and into an already crowded forward group. He likely needs two years of seasoning before he comes into the conversation as a roster player on an NHL roster.