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WHAT'S IN THE WINGS?

First-round pick Thomas McCollum

(By George Sipple - Detroit Free Press - June 21, 2008)

A look at all of the Red Wings' 2008 draft picks:

G THOMAS MCCOLLUM

Round: 1, 30th overall.
Born: Dec. 7, 1989.
Size: 6-2, 205.
2007-08: Had a 2.50 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage with four shutouts for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League.
Comment: “He’s a big goalie, much like Jimmy Howard,” said assistant general manager Jim Nill. “He’s going to the U.S. world junior training camp. He’ll have a good shot at being one of the goalies for world juniors. He’s a big blocker-type of goalie.”

D MAX NICASTRO

Round: 3rd, 91st overall.
Born: March 2, 1990.
Size: 6-2, 189.
2007-08: The right-shooting defenseman scored six goals and 14 assists with 78 penalty minutes in 58 games for the Chicago Steel of the U.S. Hockey League.
Comment: “We think he’s got good, long-term potential. He’s going to have good size. He’s growing into his body still,” said Wings amateur scout David Kolb. “Probably play another year in the USHL, then he’s going to Boston University.”

C GUSTAV NYQUIST

Round: 4th, 121st overall.
Born: Sept. 1, 1989.
Size: 5-10, 169.
2007-08: Had a shoulder injury this season, but scored 11 goals and 20 assists in 24 games with Malmo Jr.
Comment: “There are other skilled 5-11 guys, but he’s more intense,” said Hakan Andersson, the Wings director of European scouting. “Works harder, chases the puck, backchecks very good. Not very physical, but skates and works and wants the puck back all the time.

“The last two seasons he’s averages over a point a game. He had a shoulder injury this year and was out for a month and a half, but came right back and the first game back I actually saw him and he had two goals right away. He was the leading scorer in the Swedish playoffs, as long as they played.”

C JULIEN CAYER

Round: 5th, 151st overall.
Born: July 6, 1989.
Size: 6-4, 186.
2007-08: Scored 24 goals and 32 assists with 56 penalty minutes in 42 games for Northwood High (N.Y.).
Comment: “Big kid, good skater,” Nill said. “Good long-term project. He’s going to school, so becomes a four-year player. That’s important with these later picks. They need time to develop.”

LW STEPHEN JOHNSTON

Round: 6th, 181st overall.
Born: Feb. 24, 1990.
Size: 6-1, 175.
2007-08: Scored two goals and seven assists with 12 penalty minutes in 56 games for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League.
Comment: “He hardly played,” Nill said, adding that Johnston played behind another former Wings draft pick, Shawn Matthias. “The coach is very high on him. He’s thinks he’s got the chance to be a Shawn Matthias-type player. We’re intrigued by his upside. Who was Shawn Matthias four years ago? You’re hoping this kid has learned from Shawn Matthias and goes from there.”

C JESPER SAMUELSSON

Round: 7th, 211st overall.
Born: June 13, 1988.
Size: 5-11, 178.
2007-08: Scored 20 goals, 42 assists and had 73 penalty minutes in 40 games for Timra.
Comment: “He’s got some skill,” Nill said. “He’s played in the lower leagues (in Sweden). He’s going to try and move up to the higher leagues. Hope to get lucky down the road.”


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