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By the Numbers Prospects - David Pope

First-year pro finds his scoring touch during Toledo's impressive playoff run

by Arthur J. Regner @ArthurJRegner /

By the Numbers will highlight the on-ice accomplishments in the 2018-19 season for the Detroit Red Wings' prospects. Twice a week during the offseason, By the Numbers will profile a different player in the system, focusing on his statistical highs. This week we focus on left wing David Pope.

It's not a secret the Red Wings have had trouble scoring goals the past few seasons.

The Wings scored 217 goals during the 2017-18 campaign for a goals-per game average of 2.59, which ranked 28th out of 31 teams.

Though they made a slight improvement last season by notching 227 goals for a goals-per game average of 2.73, placing them 21st overall in the league, the whole organization is aware Detroit needs to shore up its goal-scoring deficiency.

But there is no set formula of what constitutes a legitimate NHL marksman.

Offense may emerge from the unlikeliest of sources where a player seemingly comes out of nowhere to establish himself as a proficient goal scorer.

One player the Wings are still hoping can separate himself from the pack and become a goal-scoring threat is 6-foot-3, 190-pound left wing David Pope.

Drafted in the fourth round, 109th overall, in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Pope had a solid two years (2012-13 through 2013-14) playing Junior A hockey for West Kelowna in the BCHL before enrolling at Nebraska-Omaha.

After posting 89 points, including 44 goals, in 87 career games for West Kelowna, Pope's transition to college hockey was a slow one.

As a freshman and sophomore, he struggled to put up numbers in the highly competitive NCHC (National Collegiate Hockey Conference). In his first two years, he played in 64 games and accumulated 22 total points (12-10-22).

He actually had a better year as a freshman (8-6-14) than he did as a sophomore (4-4-8), but to his credit something clicked in his junior year for the big winger with the big shot from Edmonton, Alberta.

Pope had 13 goals among his 31 points in 34 games as a junior and topped off his collegiate career with the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks by having an outstanding senior season.

In 35 games played, he led the Mavericks in all offensive categories with 20 goals and 21 assists for 41 points, which placed him in a tie for 28th overall in NCAA scoring. Pope was also named to the NCHC's First All-Star team.

Out of his 20 tallies, 12 came on the power-play, which not only led the Mavericks but placed him second in the country in that category.

On May 7, 2018, Pope signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Red Wings. Detroit was encouraged by Pope's final two years in college and believed he would make a run at a Red Wings roster spot during training camp last fall.

It didn't work out that way as Pope never found his game in training camp and was assigned to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins, where he had a difficult time staying in the Griffins' everyday lineup.

Toward the end of the season, the Red Wings reassigned Pope to the ECHL's Toledo Walleye.

With the Walleye, Pope appeared to find his offensive rhythm, especially in the playoffs.

At 24, Pope is entering the final year of his deal and his window of opportunity in Detroit is beginning to close but based on his track record with Nebraska-Omaha and his playoff performance in Toledo, Pope could turn things around quickly, giving an instant boost to the Wings' and improving their goal-scoring woes.

28 - In his rookie season in Grand Rapids, Pope played in 28 games with the Griffins.

2 - Total number of goals he notched as a Griffin. Pope scored his first goal as a professional on Oct. 13 in Chicago against the Wolves. It came on the power play at 3:22 of the first period with Vili Saarijarvi and Alex Holmstrom drawing the assists. Grand Rapids lost the game, 5-1. It was Pope's second game as a pro.

1 - Pope's professional debut came on Oct. 12 in Grand Rapids against Hershey. In the Griffins' 6-3 victory, Pope picked up his first pro point by doling out the lone assist on Matt Puempel's goal at 18:12 of the first period. Unfortunately, it was Pope's only assist for the Griffins last season.

3 - His three total points was the lowest by a Griffins forward who played in at least 20 games for the club.

-1 - He was minus-1 in his rookie season in Grand Rapids.

12 - In his 28 games played, Pope was assessed 12 penalty minutes. Each penalty was a two-minute minor and occurred in six separate games.

7 - On March 28, the Red Wings reassigned Pope to the Toledo Walleye. In seven games with Toledo, Pope had three goals, one assist and was minus-3. He tallied one goal on the power play, was not assessed a penalty and fired 25 shots.

20 - Pope played in 20 of the Walleye's 24 playoff games. He scored four goals and doled out nine assists for 13 points. Out of his 13 points, five came on the power play, with a goal and four assists. Pope was plus-8, accumulated six penalty minutes and had 48 shots.

Quotable: "He came out of college (so he's) an older guy, had a really good senior year. (He's) a guy that can score that does well on the power play and like everybody else, he came in as a rookie to a deep team and struggled in the AHL right out of the gate. The thing with the AHL and you see it a lot with college players - actually all players in general - they think, 'Oh man, I'm going to eat these minor leagues up,' and it just doesn't work that way. It's a hard league and in Grand Rapids we always have a good hockey team, there's always good competition for playing time and roster spots and he found himself behind the eightball early. But I think it was a good thing for him. I know he's putting the work in and doing things differently this summer. He's going to come back ready to get a bigger role and play better next year." - Shawn Horcoff, Detroit's director of player development

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