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Undrafted Lashoff proves himself to Wings

by Adam Rice / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT -- Despite being undrafted, the Red Wings have high hopes for 18-year-old defenseman Brian Lashoff, who attended Detroit’s training camp last September.

Brian Lashoff
The club was so impressed with his play that they decided to sign him to a three-year entry level deal.

Lashoff seems to fit the mold when it comes to Wings defensemen, according to former player and current director of player development Jiri Fischer.

“He can really move the puck out of the zone pretty well,” Fischer said. “He sees the plays develop very well. This season we worked together on skating quite a bit so he can have better mobility on the ice.”

Lashoff spent last season between three teams. Though be played 35 games for Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League after being acquired from the Barrie Colts. Lashoff put up impressive numbers in Kingston, registering six goals and 19 points as the Frontenacs highest-scoring defenseman.

“I try to model my game after guys like (Nicklas) Lidstrom – guys who are confident with the puck and offensive and also good in their own end,” said Lashoff, who is in Detroit this week to participate in the Red Wings' annual development camp at Joe Louis Arena.

After the Frontenacs failed to reach the post-season, Lashoff reported to the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids  where he had a strong six-game showing until a concussion ended his season.

“He was almost a point per game defenseman (in Grand Rapids),” Fischer said. “He really took over on some of the veterans’ spots on the power play. He played extremely well until he got a concussion. He is one of our prospects that we are very excited about.”

Lashoff surely wouldn’t be the first undrafted player to enjoy success with the Red Wings. Current Wings defensemen Brian Rafalski and Brett Lebda were both undrafted. Former undrafted Red Wings also include Sean Avery and Jason Williams.

“It’s great for organizations to reserve rights of young players, but at the same time there are late bloomers,” Fischer said. “It’s all about determination and just going after the goal. Some of the guys, if they don’t get drafted, have got to get sour and bitter.”

Lashoff echoed Fischer’s sentiments and has responded to not being drafted by working hard.

“Guys are all going for the same goal,” he said. “Everyone wants to play for the Red Wings. I’ve got to work hard on and off the ice, and I think right now that’s what everyone’s main goal is. We’re not thinking about too far ahead.”

Lashoff’s older brother, Matt, is also a defenseman, a former Boston first-round draft pick who was traded to Tampa Bay last season for Mark Recchi.

Brian Lashoff says his older brother is very helpful in his journey to the NHL.

“We work out together. We skate together in the summers and stuff like that – so he’s a great role model for me,” he said. “During the season I can call him and he’s got good advice for me. It’s a perfect situation.”

As an organization who puts a premium on defensemen, the Red Wings hope it’s a perfect situation, as they hope the best for Lashoff.

Adam Rice is an intern in the Red Wings' New Media & Publishing at Joe Louis Arena.

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