The Detroit Red Wings asked Richard Nedomlel to return his focus to the defensive zone this season and the rugged Czech blueliner complied. He was rewarded last week with a three-year entry-level contract.
The 6-foot-4 202-pounder stepped up his defensive play in his third WHL season with the Swift Current Broncos, logging heavy minutes against top lines while finishing with seven goals and 21 assists for 28 points along with a minus-13 rating in 72 games.
Focusing on his defensive play cost Nedomlel points — considering a season before, he quadrupled his rookie point total with a 10-goal, 46-point sophomore campaign — but the Red Wings didn’t draft him in the sixth round (175th overall) in 2011 to run their power play. They drafted him for his bread and butter: a rugged, physical defensive game.
“We watched him closely,” aid Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer. “He played top-four minutes and (has) been a shutdown guy for Swift Current.”
Nedomlel is mobile for his size, likes hitting and physical contact, blocks shots, and is willing to drop the gloves, as his 15 career major junior fights indicate. He’s a similar prospect to since departed Sergei Kolosov, who became an AHL regular but couldn’t make the next step.
Although Nedomlel’s entry-level contract begins next season, he — along with Saginaw Spirit goaltender Jake Paterson — also signed an amateur tryout to join the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins immediately.
Nedomlel’s biggest challenge going forward is establishing himself on the organizational depth chart. The Red Wings have a number of more highly-touted defense prospects — Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet and Mattias Backman, among others — and earning a full-time AHL spot with the Griffins next season will not be an easy task.
The Red Wings have now signed five players from the 2011 draft — Nedomlel, Sproul, Ouellet, Tomas Jurco and Marek Tvrdon — and have to make decisions by June 1 on center Alan Quine of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls and winger Philippe Hudon of the Victoriaville Tigres. They’re also likely to sign Alexei Marchenko this summer and Mattias Backman next year.
Hudon looks like a long-shot to earn a contract, while Quine has lit it up since a mid-season trade to Belleville and will get consideration. He had 14 goals and 27 assists for 41 points in 28 games with the Bulls in the regular season and has eight points in nine games in the playoffs.
“He really rejuvenated his OHL career (after the trade) — he was really on a tear for a bit,” Fischer said.
Should the Red Wings eventually sign Quine, Marchenko and Backman, that would make eight of nine players inked from from the 2011 draft class. The most players signed from one draft by the Red Wings since 1998 was six — seven if college defenseman Nick Jensen eventually signs — in 2009.
NOTES: The Red Wings also signed college free-agent goaltender Jared Coreau from Northern Michigan to a two-year contract, which actually begins this season and not next … Defenseman Mattias Backman (Linkoping, Swedish Elite League) saw his team eliminated from the playoffs last week, falling 4-1 at the hands of Skelleftea in the best-of-seven semifinal … Defenseman James De Haas (Penticton, British Columbia Hockey League) is in the BCHL final against the Surrey Eagles and is tied for second among defense scorers with three goals and five assists in nine games … Left-winger Andreas Athanasiou (Barrie, OHL) was OHL player of the week after recording two goals, four assists and a plus-5 rating in three games. He is tied for fifth in OHL scoring with 13 points in eight games as Barrie has swept its way to the OHL semifinals … The Griffins have six games to play and are on the verge of clinching their first playoff berth since 2008-09. With a 40-23-7 record, they are also close to clinching the Midwest Division title … Forward Riley Sheahan (Grand Rapids, AHL) was recalled for one game with the Red Wings. He had one shots in close to seven minutes of duty. “He’s going to be a player for us, but he’s got to get quicker and he’s got to have more pace to his game,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock told the Macomb Daily.
SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT
|Jarnkrok, Calle||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||6||0||2||2||0||+2||8|
|Nyquist, Gustav||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||58||23||37||60||34||+10||169|
|Ferraro, Landon||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||67||21||20||41||44||+3||140|
|Andersson, Joakim||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||36||10||17||27||55||+1||84|
|Parkes, Trevor||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||34||3||6||9||35||+6||39|
|Lashoff, Brian||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||37||2||4||6||23||+6||40|
|Tatar, Tomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||56||23||24||47||50||+11||192|
|Almqvist, Adam||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||63||9||19||28||32||+11||82|
|Nicastro, Max||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||23||1||2||3||10||0||17|
|Raedeke, Brent||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||35||3||6||9||41||+1||27|
|Sheahan, Riley||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||67||16||19||35||31||+7||105|
|Aubry, Louis-Marc||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||59||4||8||12||60||+2||74|
|Callahan, Mitchell||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||65||11||9||20||88||-2||125|
|Jurco, Tomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||68||12||13||25||22||+4||107|
|Fournier, Gleason||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||25||1||4||5||23||-1||19|
|Nestrasil, Andrej||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||22||3||3||6||2||+2||24|
|Coetzee, Willie||Grand Rapids||AHL||AHL||1||0||0||0||0||-1||0|
|Jensen, Nick||St. Cloud State||WCHA||NCAA||41||4||27||31||14||+22||73|
|De Haas, James||Penticton||BCHL||USHL/JR-A||53||5||19||24||19||–||–|
|Sproul, Ryan||Sault Ste. Marie||OHL||CHL||50||20||46||66||45||0||–|
|Nedomlel, Richard||Swift Current||WHL||CHL||72||7||21||28||105||-13||–|
|Marchenko, Alexei||CSKA Moscow||KHL||EUR||44||4||5||9||6||-2||46|
GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT
|McCollum, Thomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||29||17||11||2||2||2.68||.903|
|Pearce, Jordan||Grand Rapids||AHL||4||0||3||0||0||4.32||.847|
|Mrazek, Petr||Grand Rapids||AHL||38||22||13||2||1||2.34||.916|
SKATERS: PLAYOFF REPORT
|Marchenko, Alexei||CSKA Moscow||KHL||EUR||7||0||0||0||0||-1||5|
|Sproul, Ryan||Sault Ste. Marie||OHL||CHL||6||2||3||5||0||-4||–|
|Nedomlel, Richard||Swift Current||WHL||CHL||5||0||1||1||2||-2||–|
|De Haas, James||Penticton||BCHL||USHL/JR-A||9||3||5||8||6||–||–|
GOALIES: PLAYOFF REPORT