Red Wings Central RSS

Nicastro progresses in Windy City

Published Monday, December 8, 2008, 12:01 a.m. under 2008-09 RWC Reports

Max Nicastro has taken a step forward in his development as a sophomore in the United States Hockey League with the Chicago Steel.

The 6-foot-2, 189-pound blueliner has emerged as his team’s top blueliner and one of the top defensemen in the league, logging big minutes and running the power play as he prepares to suit up at Boston University next season.

Nicastro, drafted 91st overall last summer, has shown increasing aptitude offensively, with three goals and eight assists in 19 games. He is ninth among USHL blueliners and on pace to double last year’s totals.

“He’s showing more willingness to jump into the offense than he did last season,” said Red Wings amateur scout David Kolb, who focuses on the USHL and NCAA. “He likes to sneak in from the point and has a good shot.”

The 18-year-old has also been getting the job done in his own zone, blocking shots and developing defensively under Steel head coach Steve Poapst, an NCAA graduate who played seven seasons in the NHL.

The Red Wings would like to see Nicastro play with more of an edge.

“He can be a physical player when he wants to be at this level, but needs to develop more of a mean streak,” said Kolb. “His physical play has been too inconsistent this year, and he needs to learn to punish guys more.”

Kolb said Nicastro spends a lot of his free time in the gym and that he is growing into his body and getting stronger. In the long run — the very long run, as the Red Wings are loaded with defensive depth and have plenty of time to wait — the Red Wings see the upside of an NHL regular.

“He has the tools to one day play in the NHL,” Kolb said. “He just needs to develop the right mindset, and that should come with maturity.”

Here are some other notes from the past week.

* Ville Leino’s production with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League is becoming a head-scratcher. Leino has no goals and five assists in his past 12 games with a five-game pointless streak and no goals since Oct. 25. Either Leino has hit a temporary wall or the transition to North America might not be going as smoothly as it looked after 10 games.

* Forward Cory Emmerton (Grand Rapids, AHL) scored the first goal of his pro career. He has 13 points in 22 games this season.

* Forward Randy Cameron (Moncton, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) scored more goals this week than he had all season. Cameron tallied four times in three games and is now averaging a point-per-game.

* Forward Joakim Andersson (Frolunda, Swedish Elite League) has recovered from an atrocious start to the season. He began the year with no points in 15 games; but in 15 games since, he has two goals and six assists.

* Defenseman Brian Lashoff was moved in an Ontario Hockey League trade. Lashoff went from the Barrie Colts to the struggling Kingston Frontenacs in a move to bolster the Colts for the present and the Fronts for the future.

Kingston got forwards Colt Kennedy and Mitch Lebar, while Barrie got top goal-scorer Josh Brittain and Pete Stevens.

Lashoff, who signed as a free agent this summer, should get more ice time in Kingston. He has a goal and 12 assists in 28 games.

ARTICLE TAGS:



CapGeek.com Quick Launch

» Cap Chart » Reserve List » Depth Chart



  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Media Watch

    Daniel Alfredsson will again be counte ...
    www.mlive.com | Today 6:06 am
    Alfredsson left the Ottawa Senators after 17 seasons to sign with the Red Wings because he thought they gave him the bes ... More »

    Smith brothers take family feud out of ...
    www.detroitnews.com | Today 1:00 am
    In the basement of their family's home in Mimico, Ont., Brendan and Reilly Smith staged some epic Stanley Cup Playo ... More »

    Western Conference playoff preview: Bl ...
    www.detroitnews.com | Today 1:00 am
    Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News breaks down the first-round matchups in the Western Conference playoffs, with predictions ... More »

    Eastern Conference playoff preview: Br ...
    www.detroitnews.com | Today 1:00 am
    Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News breaks down the first-round matchups in the Eastern Conference playoffs, with predictions ... More »

    Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg hopes for ...
    www.detroitnews.com | Yesterday 10:28 pm
    Zetterberg would like to play in this first-round series against Boston, and because it doesn't begin until Friday, ... More »

    Niklas Kronwall steps up from role pla ...
    www.detroitnews.com | Yesterday 8:59 pm
    In the past, Niklas Kronwall played well his part for the Red Wings: role player. That was in the past. Now Kronwall has ... More »

    Red Wings' Tomas Tatar looking forward ...
    www.mlive.com | Yesterday 6:01 pm
    The 5-foot-10 Tatar likes to get his nose dirty around the net. The 6-foot-9 Chara likes punishing players around the ne ... More »

    Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blash ...
    www.mlive.com | Yesterday 4:41 pm
    The leader of Detroit Red Wings affiliate was selected as the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award AHL coach of the year by f ... More »

    Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg en ...
    www.mlive.com | Yesterday 2:08 pm
    Zetterberg hopes to begin skating with the team on Thursday. In the best-case scenario, he might return late in the firs ... More »

    Red Wings determined to get to the net ...
    www.mlive.com | Yesterday 6:03 am
    The Bruins, with their big forwards, will be crashing the net, and 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara will try to screen Ji ... More »