The Detroit Red Wings are hoping defenseman Gleason Fournier is a quick learner when it comes to the hockey skills a good coach can teach.
“He has to continue to play harder defensively and work on winning the battles, but he has something you just can’t teach — and that’s his skating,” said Red Wings scout Mark Leach. “He just floats on the ice and moves the puck well. He’s an offensive defenseman who can just fly up the ice.”
The 19-year-old Rimouski Oceanic blueliner was the Red Wings’ third-round pick, 90th overall, in the 2009 draft. Numbers-wise, he’s not setting the QMJHL on fire, with eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points in 40 games, but the Red Wings signed him to a three-year entry-level contract earlier this year.
If the rest of Fournier’s game catches up to his skating, he’ll be a prospect who will fit right in to the Red Wings’ puck-moving system.
Although the six-footer weighed in at 168 pounds on draft day, he’s slowly built on that and is now in the 180- to 185-pound range, Leach said. That will help him break in with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins in 2011-12.
“That’s a matter of being patient with him,” Leach said. “He’s made a step in progress and that’s what we’re looking for … And he’s going to move on to the minors next year and that will be another big step for him.”
FERRARO INJURED: Just when you thought Landon Ferraro was going to turn it around, he’s out indefinitely with an injury. Ferraro, who had four goals and five assists in a six-game stretch with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, learned last week he requires surgery for a sports hernia. The Silvertips’ captain has 25 points in 37 games in what was a disappointing season until recently.
“It’s too bad for him,” Silvertips head coach Craig Hartsburg told the Everett Herald. “It’s just typical for his year. He struggled so much, then finally he gets his game going and he gets hurt. Not much you can do about it.”
NOTES: Injuries in Detroit are giving prospects a chance to get their feet wet in the NHL. Cory Emmerton got the call last week and scored in his NHL debut. Goaltenders Jordan Pearce and Thomas McCollum have also gotten the call as backups with the big club, while forwards Jan Mursak (13 games, one goal) and Tomas Tatar (nine games, one goal) have enjoyed extended stints … Forward Ilari Filppula (Grand Rapids, AHL) has been added to the roster for the AHL All-Star Game. While not technically a prospect by RWC’s definition, the 29-year-old forward leads the Griffins in scoring with 33 points in 43 games … Goalie Petr Mrazek (Ottawa, OHL) posted his third shutout of the season last week. That ties him for second in the league. He’s also third with a .919 save percentage, tied for second with 23 wins and seventh with a 2.91 goals-against average.
Following is this week’s statistical update for skaters and goaltenders:
|Stolyarov, Gennady||Dynamo Msk||KHL||20||2||4||6||23||-7||32|
|Samuelsson, Jesper||Vita Hasten||SWE-3||18||9||13||22||35||–||–|
|Smith, Brendan||Grand Rapids||AHL||40||8||14||22||71||+5||68|
|Mursak, Jan||Grand Rapids||AHL||33||10||13||23||29||+8||81|
|Tatar, Tomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||36||10||20||30||29||+11||71|
|Pare, Francis||Grand Rapids||AHL||46||11||16||27||36||-14||139|
|Ehrhardt, Travis||Grand Rapids||AHL||30||4||7||11||24||+5||37|
|Pyett, Logan||Grand Rapids||AHL||40||5||7||12||30||-12||67|
|Andersson, Joakim||Grand Rapids||AHL||45||4||6||10||16||-1||63|
|Emmerton, Cory||Grand Rapids||AHL||33||6||17||23||18||+8||60|
|Coetzee, Willie||Grand Rapids||AHL||24||0||5||5||8||-6||41|
|Kolosov, Sergei||Grand Rapids||AHL||39||0||1||1||35||-8||33|
|Lashoff, Brian||Grand Rapids||AHL||15||0||2||2||11||+1||11|
|Owens, Jordan||Grand Rapids||AHL||45||5||11||16||84||-10||69|
|Filppula, Ilari||Grand Rapids||AHL||43||15||18||33||10||-4||80|
|Raedeke, Brent||Grand Rapids||AHL||41||4||2||6||13||+2||51|
|Piche, Sebastien||Grand Rapids||AHL||10||0||1||1||13||-4||14|
|Nicastro, Max||Boston U.||NCAA||23||2||2||4||43||-6||27|
|Oslund, Nick||St. Cloud St.||NCAA||16||1||1||2||4||-2||25|
|Jensen, Nick||St. Cloud St.||NCAA||24||4||8||12||10||-4||36|
|Sheahan, Riley||Notre Dame||NCAA||24||1||11||12||16||-6||61|
|McCollum, Thomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||17||5||10||2||1||3.11||.884|
|Pearce, Jordan||Grand Rapids||AHL||11||5||3||1||0||3.00||.904|