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06-23-2012, 05:27 PM
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Boys...this is a Cup-winning team thats is extremely young. Time to start building a Red Wings type development system where guys can play in the AHL for a good amount of time and can step in somewhat seamlessly and usually in the bottom six or bottom pairing. Kopitar, Brown, Richards, Carter, Williams and possibly Penner are all young with Manchester starting to look formidable with Vey, Toffoli, Kozun and now maybe Pearson. I think Lombardi tries for boom or bust guys in the later rounds but picks guys that he feels are sure-fire NHL'ers in the 1st round, in the sense that they will at least be useful, every day players. There were definitely sexier names available when Lewis was picked--I wanted Chris Stewart badly--but they got their guy and it paid off tremendously as he has turned into a real gritty son-of-a-***** who is important to this team. I've been critical of the Lewis pick in the past but you can't be upset about it even though Giroux was taken later. With that being said, you have to give Dean the benefit of the doubt that this will be a solid pick down the road. He has not drafted a sensational scoring forward, Toffoli maybe, but he drafts "hockey players".

Back to the Red Wings, their rookies usually get to break in on the bottom lines and get acclimated to the NHL while already playing some seasons of pro hockey, be it in the AHL or overseas. I think we are starting to see that and it's only going to help development as it's going to be a dogfight just to make the NHL roster.

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