It was hardly a secret that David Pope was nearing a deal with the Detroit Red Wings, and the team officially announced a two-year entry-level contract with the 23-year old winger today. Pope had the chance to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but will instead sign with the team who drafted him five years ago.
That draft was in 2013, when the Red Wings made Pope their fourth-round pick, 109th overall. He returned to the BCHL for one season before heading for the NCAA, where he would develop into a top level scorer. The 6’3″, 194-lbs forward ended with 41 points in just 35 games this season for the University of Nebraska-Omaha, including an impressive 12 powerplay goals. His speed and power will give him a good chance at the NHL as soon as next season. Topher Scott of The Athletic (subscription required) broke down some of Pope’s talents earlier this season, highlighting his excellent skating ability as a difference maker in his overall game.
While the Red Wings are in a sort of rebuild, they have enough talented young players on the roster that they could take a step forward next season offensively. Pope should fit into that group nicely, giving them another option for the powerplay and some more talent on the wing. It’s not guaranteed that he’ll start in the NHL, but since he’ll be 24 by the time the season starts, there won’t be much seasoning left for him in the minors, or overall development for his game.