‘No dogs’: Yzerman wanted aggressive players, and Albin Grewe fits the bill
Vancouver, British Columbia – One characteristic that threaded through many of the Red Wings’ 11 draft picks over the weekend was many of them aren’t easy to play against.
They are very competitive, make life difficult for opponents, and play the game hard.
Hakan Andersson, the Red Wings’ director of European scouting, said the message of getting those kind of players came from the top – Steve Yzerman, the Wings’ general manager.
“Yzerman has been pretty strict – he wants competitive players,” Andersson said. “So, there are no dogs. Like sometimes you draft a guy with high talent but they don’t compete.
“These guys, they work for it, too.”
One player appears to be the perfect blueprint for Yzerman’s vision.
Forward Albin Grewe, 18, the Wings’ third-round pick, could eventually be a player Wings fans love – and opponents and opposing fans hate.
Grewe (6-0, 182 pounds) has said he patterns his game after Boston’s Brad Marchand, a noted pest.
“Albin Grewe is an outstanding competitor,” Andersson said. “I can see how he pictures himself after Brad Marchand. He’s very competitive. Out of the Europeans, probably the most competitive player in the whole draft – and in many years, I would say.”
Andersson recounted a story of a Swedish team that Grewe played on.
“The senior coach in Djurgarden, a top team in the senior league, one of the better ones, said, ‘I didn't realize it until I started to look around, but every time this kid (Grewe) came up and practiced with the men’s team, the whole intensity of the practice, the physical part of the practice, would go up,’” Andersson said. “At first, he didn't know why. Then he realized every time this kid came up, he just brought the whole pace up.”
The Red Wings selected seven Europeans in the NHL Draft, led by first-round defenseman Moritz Seider of Germany.
A preconceived plan? Intentional?
Hardly, said Andersson, who has scouted Europe for 30 years.
“I’ve always said, ‘Let’s just get the best player. Never mind country,’” Andersson said. “Let’s get the best player. So we worked really hard this week on ranking lists up and down, also in our May meetings, and the way we had it, these were the names that came up, from Europe.
“It might as well have been six Canadian or five Americans, or whatever.”
A player who may be getting overlooked among all these picks is second-rounder Robert Mastrosimone.
A 5-foot-10, 170-pound center headed to Boston University, Mastrosimone was considered a late first-round pick in some draft boards and was rated a top-30 player by many scouting services.
The only negative on many scouting services was Mastrosimone’s skating – it’s an area he has to improve. But otherwise he projects to be a tough two-way forward.
“He’s really a skilled, competitive (player),” Yzerman said. “He has great hands, great skill, hockey sense. He has to fill out, get stronger, and getting stronger will improve his skating. He’s exciting.”