Red Wings hope draft pick Kyle Aucoin is a chip off the old block

Detroit News

Detroit — If Red Wings draft pick Kyle Aucoin needs advice about his hockey career, he has an invaluable resource right in the house.

His dad Adrian played 18 years in the NHL, with seven teams, while playing a staggering 1,108 games.

Kyle Aucoin

“He’s always been my role model, someone I could always look up to,” said Kyle, the Wings’ sixth-round draft pick last month. “Always there to give me knowledge about the game as we’d drive down to the games.

“He’s someone I want to model my life after.”

Interestingly, there was one hockey memory that sticks in Kyle’s mind about his dad’s career.

“When Detroit beat them out of the playoffs, and he was playing in Arizona (in 2010),” Aucoin said.

Like his dad, Kyle is also a defenseman. But there aren’t a ton of similarities.

For one, Adrian’s 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame towers over Kyle’s 5-foot-11, 163-pound body.

Both father and son are outstanding skaters, with that skill one of Kyle’s particular strengths, and each has been known for his puck handling abilities.

More: ‘He’s one of our best’: Steve Yzerman happy to lock up Anthony Mantha with Red Wings for four years

But there is one difference, at least for now: Adrian had one of the hardest shots in the NHL in the late-1990s and early 2000s.

“He had a real hard shot,” said Kyle, who was able to work out with his dad and brothers at home in Illinois during the quarantine this year. “I’m working to get there.

“I’d say I’m a two-way defenseman and my biggest strength is my skating. I think the game pretty well and I’m smart on the ice.”

If Kyle Aucoin has half the career his father had, the Wings would be thrilled with that, and Kyle would as well. 

And given Kyle’s attributes and development, don’t be surprised if the younger Aucoin does land in professional hockey eventually.

Kris Draper, the Wings’ director of amateur scouting, saw plenty of Aucoin while watching and coaching his own son Kienan in the Little Caesars program, against Aucoin’s Chicago Mission.

“I’ve watched Kyle over the years and he’s a smart, competitive kid,” Kris Draper said. “It’s funny when you hear that his dad had a growth spurt when he was 18, 19, so we hope Kyle gets that as well.

“He’s just a terrific skater, a real competitive kid.”

Kyle Aucoin actually got a text from Kienan Draper – a Wings’ seventh-round draft pick – after the draft.

“That was our rival team (Little Caesars); we were playing each other almost every couple weeks,” Aucoin said. “They had a great team and it was a battle. He texted me after the draft and said, ‘Finally we’re on the same side, and that’s cool.’”

Kyle is awaiting the start of the USHL season, where he’s playing for the Tri-City Storm. With Tri-City last season, Aucoin had two goals and 11 assists in 48 games.

Aucoin is committed to playing college hockey at Harvard next year.

“Education has always been real important to me and my family,” Aucoin said. “The coaches are unbelievable, you’re in Boston, and the campus is great. It was the best of both worlds, with a great hockey program and a great education.”

Aucoin had a steady dialogue with the Wings throughout the season.

Finally getting drafted, after the Entry Draft was pushed back about four months because of the pandemic, and getting another hockey season started soon is a sense of normalcy in what’s been an abnormal hockey season.

“It’s really chaotic,” said Aucoin, who added his team and league have been extremely vigilant in taking every possible precaution. “Even at the rinks now, but our staffs have done a great job. It’s been different, but you have to be extra cautious.”

And if he has a question about hockey or anything else, there’s always dad to ask at home.

“It’s been good to pick his brain,” Aucoin said.

Kyle Aucoin

► Pick: No. 156 overall (Round 6)

► Position: Defenseman

► Height/weight: 5-11/163 pounds

► Last season: Tri-City (USHL) — 48 games, 2 goals, 11 assists

► Scouting report: Son of former NHL player Adrian Aucoin, Kyle is regarded as a competitive two-way defender, a good skater, and plays a smart game, having been around NHL locker rooms. Needs to grow physically. Headed to play at Harvard.

Twitter: @tkulfan

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