The loss of Brad Stuart and Nick Lidstrom has left the Detroit Red Wings’ defense rather thin. While these players are not household names yet, Brian Lashoff and Adam Almquist are two players that will become known in Detroit whenever the NHL decides to play again.
Neither of them will start the season with the team, but they should be the first defensive call-ups when the need arises. Coach Mike Babcock has said that he will need both to help with depth.
Brian Lashoff is playing in his third full season with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He battled injuries in his first season. Last season, he really came into his own. He is not a scoring-minded defender. He focuses more on his defensive assignment and brings a physical style to the ice.
Last season he scored eight goals, his best at any level during his minor league career. He is a regular on the penalty killing unit. He was able to chip in three goals on the power play last season.
He was undrafted and could be another surprising find for the organization. While he likely does not have an all-star level future, he could easily become a solid contributor in the next year or two. His entry level contract is up this year so the team will need to make a decision on him soon.
Adam Almquist was the last pick in the 2009 NHL draft. With the late round draft history of the team, that alone should spark some interest. He is on the small side at 5’11” but has great offensive sense.
He is in his first full season with the Griffins and is adjusting to the North American game very well. He has a knack for setting players up and looks to have a good future running the power-play unit.
Hockeyfutures.com gave this analysis of him.
Almqvist is a mobile defender with not a lot of size. His greatest asset is his hockey sense, which is said to be through the roof. He possesses a great deal of control with the puck and makes smart offensive decisions. As with many late-round picks, Almqvist is a high-risk, high-reward selection for Detroit.
To be honest, they each still need more time in the minors. However, if the NHL does come back to play a shortened season, Babcock has said that he may need to use them. The two of them are a regular defensive pairing for the Griffins and their styles seem to complement each other very well.
There has been some concern about the defensive depth on the current roster. Almquist and Lashoff are still a year or two away from making the full-time roster. Once they get here, they should help strengthen the teams’ defense.
PJ Sapienza is a featured columnist covering the Detroit Red Wings, as well as many other sports.
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