Detroit — Malte Setkov wasn’t one of those guys who flew to Chicago and waited for his name to be called during June’s NHL Entry Draft.
Setkov wasn’t even sure the event was going on, let alone immersed in it.
“I was playing PlayStation,” said Setkov, at his home in Demark, where the 6-foot-6 defenseman received a call from his agent saying Setkov had been picked by the Red Wings.
Setkov was drafted in the fourth round, 100th overall, and both he and the team couldn’t be happier.
“It was pretty big for me,” Setkov said of being drafted by the Red Wings. “At the start of the season, I didn’t expect to be drafted. As the season went along, though, I was hoping.”
Be it hockey, or baseball, any team-sport’s draft, you’ll hear about projects, raw players who teams develop into productive professionals.
There’s that definite feel with Setkov, who blossomed considerably last season while playing in Sweden.
While 6-foot-6, Setkov is listed at 195 pounds, and his string-bean body will need plenty of more muscle to ever succeed in the NHL.
But the passion to succeed appears to be there, which intrigued the Red Wings.
Setkov lives in Denmark during the hockey season and makes the 60-minute commute to his Swedish hockey club, Malmo, early in the morning.
Hakan Andersson, the Red Wings’ director of European scouting, liked the determination and professionalism Setkov showed in the off-season leading to the draft.
Andersson was told by coaches Setkov would make the commute twice daily to Sweden, never asking for a pass to work out at home, never cutting any corners.
The way Setkov moved upward from the organization’s “B” team to the “A” team last season was noteworthy.
“The junior A coach me told me, ‘When I was watching the junior B team practice in August, I kind of laughed at this big, wobbly kid,’ ” Andersson said. “Then the coach says, ‘Come January and February, he (Setkov) was on my power play on the ‘A’ team.’
“He developed like that. Now, he’s on a mission.”
Setkov’s English — much like his overall game — remains a work in progress. But it was good enough at last month’s Red Wings’ development camp to meet fellow draft picks and begin new friendships heading toward the future.
“I was pretty nervous when I came here, but I felt like I was welcome here,” said Setkov, adding teammates who’d been at the camp before were good sounding boards and advisers. “The (physical, conditioning) testing program was difficult. Stuff I haven’t done before. But it was nice to try them.”
Setkov skates well for a player his size, is mobile, but projects more as a defensive defenseman, who needs to grow into his body and continue to learn defensively.
“I have to put on some more weight,” Setkov said. “The gym will be my main focus this summer.”
Big season for Pope
Forward David Pope was one of the players who stood out offensively at the development camp.
That’s not entirely surprising, considering Pope — a 2013 fourth-round draft pick — scored a career-high 13 goals at Nebraska-Omaha last season, and it was his offensive upside that spurred the Red Wings to draft him.
Pope (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) is hoping for another impressive offensive season this winter, in order to earn an entry-level contract with the Red Wings next spring.
“I kind of broke out offensively last year so I’d like to continue that trend upward,” Pope said. “I’ve got to have the puck on my stick as much as possible and have impact on the game.”