The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James pens an article about 20-year-old defenseman Joe Hicketts and his adjustment as he graduated from juniors and embarks on the newest stage of his career. Hicketts was a free agent pickup by Detroit in 2014, and though he has a smaller stature, Hicketts certainly feels that it works to his advantage:
“Being a smaller guy, you’re always going to have doubters. But if I can be physical and win those battles, it helps me and the team.”
Though Jeff Blashill has described him as a slower skater, Ansar Khan writes that Blashill also believes that Hicketts is a hockey player “through and through” and must be willing to have “statement” games every time he laces up the skates. Hicketts will be assigned to Grand Rapids once exhibition games cease, but for Hicketts, whose childhood dream was to be a hockey player, just going out and having fun with the game he loves is how he will overcome the questions of his 5’8 frame and lack of speed.
In other Red Wings news:
- St. James adds that goalie Jimmy Howard was slated to be in the net for the entirety of tonight’s contest against the Bruins. When asked about Howard, Blashilll had this to say:
“I spoke to Jimmy about two weeks ago. I’m not going to discuss everything I talked with him about in terms of his role, but the one thing I will tell you is that I said there’s no question that he is going to have an impact on our success this year.
Howard, of course, was the subject of trade rumors and beyond that, a likely candidate for being left unprotected for the upcoming expansion draft next summer. Though it’s an expensive tandem with Petr Mrazek, Howard was instrumental last season in picking up the club when Mrazek struggled.
- Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News tweets that Blashill believes captain Henrik Zetterberg and defenseman Niklas Kronwall could skate on Tuesday. Zetterberg’s availability has been a source of uncertainty because of a knee injury. Kronwall has suffered through his own knee issue that has lingered on and would threaten his career if he chose to have surgery. Zetterberg is expected to move to the wing this season while Kronwall will most likely see his minutes reduced as a result of the knee problem.