By the Numbers will highlight the on-ice accomplishments in the 2017-18 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 right wing Lane Zablocki.
Sometimes when a player is traded more than once during a season, a red flag may pop up in the minds of many observers.
Assumptions are made that the player could be a problem in the room or his game will never measure up to its perceived expectation level.
Yet many times, especially with a young player, he needs to find the right system and culture which fits into his skill set and lifestyle.
Lane Zablocki is one of those players.
Drafted by the Red Wings in the third round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-foot, 190-pound right wing was a member of the WHL's Red Deer Rebels, coached by former longtime NHL'er Brent Sutter.
Zablocki began the 2017-18 campaign in Red Deer but he was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes last December. He played in nine games for the Hurricanes before he was traded again to the Victoria Royals for three draft picks on January 10.
A swift and gritty player with an offensive upside, Zablocki told reporters during his first Wings development camp last summer in Traverse City that he likes to pattern his game after supreme NHL agitator Andrew Shaw.
Whether he ever evolves into a player of Shaw's caliber remains to be seen, but Zablocki does have tenacity and a comfort level in Victoria, which should provide him with his best shot to land a contract with the Wings.
65 - Total number of regular season games he played in the WHL last season. Zablocki played in 31 games for Red Deer, nine games for Lethbridge and 25 games for Victoria.
12 - Number of goals he scored last season among his three teams. Zablocki had nine goals for Red Deer, two for Lethbridge and one tally for Victoria.
19 - Zablocki dished out 19 assists. He had 10 helpers for Red Deer, four for Lethbridge and five for Victoria.
31 - In his 65 games, he accumulated 31 total points. Zablocki had 19 points with Red Deer and six each with Lethbridge and Victoria.
105 - Known for his fearless nature, Zablocki was assessed 105 penalty minutes, which ranked 12th in the WHL. He had 49 penalty minutes with the Rebels, 12 with the Hurricanes and 44 with the Royals.
10 - Number of playoff contests he played in for Victoria, where he had two goals among his three points and eight penalty minutes.
-17 - For the Hurricanes, Zablocki was an even player, but he was minus-9 in Red Deer and minus-8 for the Royals, making his minus-17 total the highest of his WHL career.
5 - Originally drafted into the WHL by Prince George in 2013, Zablocki never played for the Cougars. He was traded to the Regina Pats in August of 2015; the Pats traded him to Red Deer in January, of 2017; Red Deer moved him to Lethbridge in December of 2017; he spent nine games in a Hurricanes uniform before they dealt him to Victoria in January of 2018. Zablocki has been associated with five WHL squads though he has only played for four of those.
79 - Detroit drafted Zablocki in the third round, 79th overall, in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The Wings had four picks in the third round of the 2017 Draft. Joining Zablocki as third-round picks were defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo, 71st overall; center Zach Gallant, 83rd overall; and goalie Keith Petruzzelli, 88th overall.
Quotable: "One of the pleasant surprises for me was I actually didn't know before he came in how versatile he is as a forward. To give you an example, we started him on his strong side wing. We learned quickly he can play his off-side wing as well, more of a shooting winger, but in the playoffs when we had a few injuries at the center position he actually played center for us and did that very well. He's strong in the face-off circle, he's strong physically generally, which helps him be good down low and he's very competitive, he's really hard to play against. We were able to manufacture a center we didn't know we had. So that's a real positive as a coach when you have a player you can move around at all three positions (who) can play anywhere on the ice and can have an impact offensively and defensively. It's a real opportunity for him to grow (next season) and to demonstrate to Detroit what he can do, not just what he can do now, but what he could become, which is obviously such an important part of the evaluation from the pro team - 'what will this player be in a few years?' So with that speed and physicality that he brings, the versatility at all three positions and he's also really good around the net and that's obviously a big part of Detroit's success in the past with people like (Tomas) Holmstrom as an example. And with a person like Lane potentially a candidate for that type of role, whether it be junior, American League or NHL, I think that's really exciting for Detroit." - Dan Price, Victoria Royals head coach