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Hard-working Nastasiuk a coach’s dream

Published Monday, July 1, 2013, 11:48 p.m. under 2013 Draft Coverage
Zach Nastasiuk

Zach Nastasiuk (Credit: OHL Images)

Zach Nastasiuk sounds like the kind of player Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is just going to love.

Drafted in the second round, 48th overall by the Red Wings, the Owen Sound Attack right-winger is the 6-foot-1, 190-pound son of a former Canadian Football League running back. And by all accounts, Nastasiuk shows up to play every single night, at both ends of the rink, and never seems to take a shift off.

“He’s a guy that plays a strong game in terms of his (competitive) level and his determination,” said Ryan Martin, the Red Wings assistant general manager of hockey administration. “He’s a really smart two-way player and he competes hard and plays big.”

Nastasiuk, who plays for former Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Greg Ireland in Owen Sound, finished fifth in Attack scoring in his second OHL season, recording 20 goals and 20 assists for 40 points in 62 games.

But he led the Attack in playoff scoring with four goals and seven assists in 12 games and went on to play a pivotal role for Canada’s gold-medal-winning squad at the world under-18 championship, recording two goals and two assists in seven contests.

From Jan. 9 on in the regular season and playoffs, Nastasiuk produced 16 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 41 games, moving his Central Scouting ranking from 33rd at mid-season to 13th at end-of-year. The consensus among various scouting publications had Nastasiuk ranked as a second-round draft prospect and that’s exactly where Detroit nabbed him.

“Greg Ireland speaks very highly of his competitiveness and his work ethic, and it shows up on the ice in how he plays the game,” Martin said.

Whether it’s a key shot block, a big hit, or a timely goal, Nastasiuk is the type of guy who can get the job done. He plays on the wing but can line up down the middle. He can kill penalties and play on the power play.

Although not a great skater — his biggest area of weakness — the Red Wings believe he has shown flashes of skill that might make him more of a role player.

“He’s got a real good set of hands and he can be dangerous offensively,” Martin said.

Added Red Wings scout Jeff Finley: “He might be a third-line player, but he’s got upside to be a second-line winger. Just a real good useful player.”

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12 Comments
  1. Patrick Johnson says:

    what offensive potential? only 40 points in the CHL? I hope I am wrong, I hope he does turn out to be a 2nd line player… but something tells me it will be the later…

  2. Shackman says:

    watch video of how this guy scores – he really drives the net, and has good hands in close. Like another pick in this draft for Detroit (see Bertuzzi), he is a puzzle piece. Holland clearly looking at the kind of team he wants 3,4, 5 years down the road and knowing he needs forwards with more edge to complement Nyquist, Jurco, Tatar, Mantha and others.

    As with everyone, time will tell …

  3. RW19 says:

    Short of getting Erne or Rychel, Nastasiuk is a about as good as you can get in terms of physical/engaged forwards. I was pretty happy with this pick. Time will tell but he’s in the mold of Helm & Abdelkader, with apparently better hands.

  4. YVR says:

    Holland must be hoping beyond hope that he will eventually uncover a “gem” like in years gone by as it seems like now the Wings are loaded with “role” players. This kid sounds like a player we will come to like (Helm).

  5. John P says:

    I think it’s in poor taste for the Wings Scouting director to come out and say they were wanting a couple of other guys but he ended up with him. Most exciting day of this guys life and to hear comments like that had to put a damper on it for him. The guy plays hard, he’s intense, willing to work hard to improve, who knows they may be glad they got him instead of those other guys they really wanted.

  6. Patrick Johnson says:

    I really wish I had a good internet connection if you are right Shackman… I usually want every video I can when the draft is over, but not this year

  7. YVR says:

    @PJ….if I were in Cuba I would be spending my money on cervazas and senoritas, and to he!! with the internet. :)

  8. David says:

    Mueller might be available as a second line center. He was on the 1st line for most of the last season in Florida.
    The wings might be able to sign him for about 2 mil. Any thoughts?

  9. Nik says:

    I like mueller. If we can get him for that price I’d prefer mueller over what weiss seems to be going for. Younger, cheaper, more upside, and he’s bigger.

  10. Patrick Johnson says:

    and where would i get those things on a navy base?

  11. Shawn says:

    PJ, maybe YVR isn’t aware that most Americans that go to Cuba are Marines. Semper Fi!

  12. Patrick Johnson says:

    probly not… Cuba is not only a resort… there is a US Navy base…



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