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 defenseman Alec Regula.
Most kids grow up dreaming of playing for their hometown team and for most of them it's just that - a dream.
But not for West Bloomfield's Alec Regula.
When the 6-foot-4, 203-pound, right-handed shooting defenseman was drafted by the Red Wings in the third round, 67th overall, in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, it renewed Regula's lifelong association with the Wings.
Regula's father, Chet, was Detroit's team dentist for 29 years, so Regula became a bit of a rink rat during his formative years and developed a bond with Valtteri Filppula, whom the Red Wings signed as a free agent on July 1, 2019.
Having 'his' Red Wing back in the fold must be a terrific feeling for Regula, but right now he's focused on continuing to improve his game with the OHL's London Knights and earn a contract with the team he idolized as a boy.
On a Knights team deep on the back end with 2018 high-profile draft picks, Adam Boqvist (1st round, 8th overall, Chicago), Evan Bouchard (1st round, 10th overall, Edmonton) and Joey Keane (3rd round, 88th overall, NY Rangers), Regula's second season in London saw him become more of a shutdown defenseman, paired with overage partner William Lochead, nephew of former Red Wing Bill Lochead.
Despite the shift in his role, Regula improved his numbers from his rookie season with the Knights when his defensive partner was mainly Bouchard; he was also named to the OHL's First All-Rookie Team.
A little over halfway through this season, the big bodied Regula was inserted to net-front presence on the Knights' first power play unit, a move which revived the struggling group.
Once London's season had ended, Regula was signed by the Grand Rapids Griffins to an amateur tryout to get a taste of professional hockey as the Griffins embarked on their playoff run.
It was in Grand Rapids where Regula irritated his left knee during training and after MRIs and X-rays, revealed there were no structural issues, the knee was just pretty inflamed and he was told to do physical therapy until the knee healed.
Unfortunately, the knee didn't come around as quickly as anticipated, causing Regula to miss all the on-ice sessions of last week's development camp, though he did participate in all the off-ice activities.
This upcoming season looms large for the smooth skating Regula. With several of his defensive mates turning pro, he'll have an increased role with the always competitive Knights.
He'll need to take advantage of his ice time because the Wings must determine if they'll offer him a contract by June of next year or he'll reenter the NHL Entry Draft, which could drastically alter his dream of eventually playing for his hometown team.
66 - Total number of games Regula played for London this season, which was one less than he played during his rookie season as a Knight.
11 - Regula netted 11 goals for the Knights, four more than the seven he potted as a rookie. His 11 goals placed him in a tie for 12th among OHL defensemen.
28 - His assist total, 12 more than he doled out as a rookie with London.
39 - Regula's 39 points ranked third highest among the Knights' defensive corps and tied for eighth overall on the team. Boqvist led London's defensemen in scoring with 60 points (20-40), with Bouchard checking in second with 53 points (16-37). As a rookie, Regula had 25 points (7-18).
41 - Total penalty minutes he was assessed. As a rookie, he accumulated 22 penalty minutes.
+32- His plus-32 was second best on the team and ninth overall among all OHL defensemen. Center Liam Foudy led the Knights with a plus-39. As a rookie, Regula was a plus-23 for London.
4-5-9 - Being placed net-front on the power play paid off for Regula. He had four goals and five assists with the man-advantage after not registering a single power-play point as a rookie.
2-4-6 - Regula appeared in all 11 of London's playoff games and finished with six total points, with two goals and four assists. He was an even player and was assessed one minor penalty. Five of his six total playoff points came on the power play. Both of his goals came with the man-advantage, including one game-winner, and he also dished out three helpers on the PP. In London's four playoff games in his rookie campaign, Regula was held scoreless, was minus-1 and was issued two penalty minutes.
Quotable: "I think Alec started off a little bit slow, he'll tell you that much to his credit, but I thought he played much better in the second half. It was a little bit different for most of the second half, we saw him play net-front on the power play. Listen, when you're a kid drafted in juniors you're trying to develop all parts of your game, both offensive and defensive. They had a pretty stacked blueline power play-wise there in London and it was nice for him to get out there and play first PP.
"With Alec, we'll just let him start the season and see how it goes. Steve (Yzerman) does things a little bit different, ultimately, it's going to be up to his decision (to offer a contract), but there's no pressure to sign these guys early, that's something that's kind of reserved for first-round draft picks. He (Steve) kind of explained to everyone that came in (for development camp) about that (playing for a contract). Steve told them to just go out there and play their game and that stuff will take care of it with time.
"We like to send them (to Grand Rapids), there's a lot of tools there. He's a big kid, he can skate well, he's like a lot of other young players that just need to get stronger, he's no different. Next year he should play a large role on that team with them losing some returning 'D.' So, he'll play a lot of quality minutes next year and he showed a lot of maturity this offseason, he came back right away after the season was done there in London. He wanted to work out, he knew he had to put some work in, he was in the gym in mid-May, so it was unfortunate he got slowed a little bit by the injury and he wasn't able to participate in development camp, but he's getting better and there's still lots of summer left in front of him." - Shawn Horcoff, Detroit's director of player development