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New defenseman Madison Bowey has ‘great opportunity’ with Red Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Red Wings defenseman Madison Bowey takes a shot during warmups before his NHL debut against the Canadiens on Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena.

Detroit – The NHL trade deadline has come and gone and most players are thankful it’s over.

The speculation can wear on players and their families.

But for a young player like new Detroit Red Wings defenseman Madison Bowey, he’s grateful for the chance it gave him.

Bowey was stuck, without much playing time, on the Stanley Cup-champion Washington Capitals roster. He averaged 13:45 ice time in 33 games this season.

But after being traded to the Wings in the deal that sent Nick Jensen to the Capitals, Bowey, 23, is thrilled about the opportunity in a new organization.

Bowey is scheduled to make his Red Wings debut Tuesday night against Montreal.

“It’s always tough saying goodbye to some great friends – it’s a great group of guys,” said Bowey of his former Capitals teammates. “But for myself, this is a great opportunity. It’s a younger team, and more on the rebuild side, and I’m just looking forward to it.”

In those 33 games with the Capitals, Bowey had six points (one goal, five assists), with a plus-3 rating.

Coach Jeff Blashill sat out Bowey Sunday against San Jose, wanting the young defenseman to get more  acclimated to his new team.

After a few practices, Bowey appears ready to step in.

“The coaching staff has done a great job of working me in and getting me used to all the systems as quickly as possible,” said Bowey, who will be paired with veteran Trevor Daley on Tuesday night. “I just want to continue learning a lot every day, keep building and improving.”

Blashill hasn’t seen much of Bowey’s play in the NHL, but has been impressed with what he’s seen in practice.

“He has an NHL skill set; he skates and passes like an NHL player,” Blashill said. “He has the size of an NHL player (6-1, 195). Now, does he on a consistent basis – does he make more good plays than bad plays? That’s the stuff you don’t know until you’re in game situations and guys have to react.

“We’ll see. I judge all these players on how many positives against how many negatives.”

Bowey is generally known to be an offensive defenseman, both coming out of junior hockey and in his brief pro career.

But Blashill wants Bowey to concentrate on the defensive end to start.

“That’s something our team needs to be better at,” Blashill said. “Most players, as they come into the league, they earn minutes by playing great defense. They earn trust, which earns more minutes, and then you start to produce (offensively).

“I want to make sure he focuses on being a great defender.”

Big relief

Blashill was relieved to see the trade deadline pass.

Blashill said it’s a stressful time for players who are rumored to be on the trading block.

The Wings traded Jensen and forward Gustav Nyquist (to San Jose) ahead of Monday deadline.

“It’s a hard time for a multitude of reasons, and when guys get traded, it’s hard for your own team, and the guys who aren’t sure if they’re going, it’s hard on them,” Blashill said.

Now, teams’ rosters are set for the remainder of the season and the attention is fully on hockey.

“You kind of sit and say this is our squad here moving forward,” Blashill said. “Let’s go and try to get better as individuals and as a group, and let’s focus on Montreal and win a hockey game.”

Ice chips

With Bowey in the lineup, and the Wings not promoting anyone from Grand Rapids at this time, Blashill planned on using Luke Witkowski as a forward against the Canadiens.

Witkowski was expected to be on a line with Justin Abdelkader, centered by Jacob de la Rose.

Bowey bumped Jonathan Ericsson out of the lineup. Ericcson has been a healthy scratch for three of the last five games.

… Thomas Vanek (hip flexor) missed a second consecutive game and Blashill is unsure whether Vanek will be ready for the upcoming two-game road trip to Arizona and Colorado.

… Filip Zadina felt confident his second NHL game Tuesday was going to be better than Sunday’s debut. Zadina was a minus-1 with one shot in 10:38 in the 5-3 loss to San Jose.

“It’s another game, I’ve played my first game, I know it’s going to be better than the first game,” said Zadina, saying he was feeling more comfortable. “I just want to do my best on the ice.”


Twitter: @tkulfan