09/16/2010 12:00 PM
September 16, 2010
Brian Lashoff has earned rave reviews in his brief American Hockey League auditions. Now he's poised to assume full-time duty.
The 6-foot-3, 204-pound defenseman wrapped up his Ontario Hockey League career with the Kingston Frontenacs last March, tallying six goals and 27 points in 58 games.
Because of Kingston's early exits the past two seasons, Lashoff has ended up playing 20 AHL games, collecting two goals and 10 assists, basically matching his production rate in junior.
"I think I have grown accustomed to the pace of the play in the AHL going there the last two years," Lashoff said. "The guys in the league are bigger and stronger and the game is a little quicker. It is something I think I am prepared for but at the same time, I think it will be an adjustment."
The Albany, N.Y., native quietly had a solid junior career, highlighted by a gold-medal win with the United States at the IIHF world junior championship in January.
He has enjoyed a rapid rise up the Red Wings' prospect ranking since being passed over in the 2008 draft and signing as a free agent with the Red Wings a few months later.
"Not being drafted is motivation that will last me my whole career," he said. "It was a blessing in disguise because I got to sign with Detroit and be part of this organization."
Lashoff was a leader on the Red Wings' blue line at the NHL prospects tournament in Traverse City this week, helping them finish second following Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild in the gold-medal game. His no-nonsense approach was an important part of the Red Wings' best-ever finish.
"He's real steady and solid as a rock back there," said Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill. "The other night when Brendan Smith was injured, he had to log a lot of ice time and I thought his game stepped up. He was really good the entire tournament."
The 20-year-old hopes to model his game after Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart and will get an up-close-and-personal look at the big rearguard when the NHLers report for training camp on Saturday.
"I am going to go in and try to not look out of place," Lashoff said. "I just want to be a Brad Stuart type — moving the puck quick, physical in my own end and contribute offensively where I can. Hopefully I can get a couple of exhibition games in and show them what I can do. I want to show them I can play with the big boys as soon as possible."
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