Ken Holland and the rest of the Detroit Red Wings management team are experts at finding hidden gems in the late rounds of the NHL draft.
But, in 2005, they may have found a first-round gem—Jakub Kindl.
The Czech Republic's Jakub Kindl is set to become a star on the blueline for the 11-time Stanley Cup champions.
"Down the road, I would think he's going to be a top-four guy," says Red Wings Director of Amateur Scouting Joe McDonnell back in October of 2006.
In the 2006 season, Kindl, a defenseman, posted 55 points in 54 games with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League and also had 11 points in nine playoff games.
He is now playing with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League and has posted respectable numbers (six goals, 27 assists, and 33 points) with the Red Wings' top minor league affiliate.
Kindl sports many tools that will help him succeed as a NHL player.
In the beginning, Kindl struggled to adjust to the North American style of play, but during his time in the OHL, he has made a relatively smooth transition.
While he has excellent size, he isn't extremely physical but can drop the gloves when needed.
Kindl's style of play fits the Detroit system. Still, he needs to stop giving the puck away when heading into the neutral zone.
Moreover, his decision-making ability must improve, but when around a good supporting cast, he steps up his level of play.
He possesses remarkable skating and offensive skills, and he carries the puck effortlessly. Kindl's shot is very accurate from the point, which will make him a valuable asset to the Red Wings' power-play unit.
The Griffins' general manager, Bob McNamara, said that Kindl improved all facets of his game in Grand Rapids.
Kindl is projected to be a top-two defenseman for the Red Wings, but don't expect to see him with the Wings this season.
A consistent year in Grand Rapids would give the 21-year-old a good shot at making the roster in the 2010-11 season.