| The Detroit News
Detroit — Every year in training camp, in whatever sport, there’s often someone who comes out of nowhere and makes a run at a roster spot.
Almost a week into this accelerated camp, Mathias Brome is playing that role for the Red Wings.
Brome scored two goals (one a shootout) during Tuesday’s intrasquad scrimmage.
General manager Steve Yzerman signed Brome, an undrafted free agent, in April.
Brome, 26, has moved up on the depth chart in the last week. With Darren Helm (unfit to play) unavailable Tuesday, Brome played on a line with Luke Glendening and Adam Erne and was effective on that checking unit.
“He continues to do a good job,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Impact on the game is a big part of when you watch. You can have a good skill set, but if your impact on the game is negligible, then it doesn’t really help. His impact in practice and then in the game has been pretty positive.”
Brome’s talks with former Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall appeared to convince Brome it was time to test himself in the NHL.
A steady career in the Swedish Elite League had put Brome on the Wings’ radar.
“I felt like I’m more ready,” Brome said of his decision to come to North America. “I’ve grown as a player and developed a lot back home in Sweden. At this point in my career, I really think there’s a good chance to come over here and fight for a spot on the team.
“I’m 26 years old, and it’s the time to do this.”
Brome had 20 points in 23 games in the SEL last autumn, before arriving in the Wings’ camp.
Blashill watched a lot of Brome on video, but seeing Brome in camp has given the coaching staff a different perspective.
“He’s a little quicker than I probably realized,” Blashill said. “He works real hard. He’s done a good job that way. Now, this whole thing is going to ramp up a lot, and he’s going to ultimately give up a lot of size.
“But he’s done a pretty job so far. He seems to be a smart player.”
At 6 feet, 183 pounds, Brome isn’t going to overpower people. But Brome has used his quickness and instincts on the ice well thus far, and showed his versatility, always a good characteristic to have when attempting to make a roster.
“He’s been good on our penalty kill, good on the power play when he’s gotten a chance, been good on 5-on-5,” Blashill said. “We’re hoping that he’s a guy who can play up our lineup and gives us depth.”
This season’s NHL regular-season schedule will feature a vast majority of back-to-back series, similar to Major League Baseball or college hockey.
Defenseman Troy Stecher, who played collegiately at North Dakota, feels the two-game series are going to be good for players and fans.
“Every weekend in college you play a team on Friday and Saturday at your home venue or their home venue,” Stecher said. “We can kind of bring that style into our locker room. If you lose one game, it’s not the end of the world, you just have to find a way to rebound the next game.
“You never want to get swept in a series.”
In a shortened, 56-game regular season, a good start will be vital.
“It’s going to be a sprint,” Stecher said. “We’ve got to come out of the gate strong. It’ll be exciting, and it’s going to be good for the game of hockey in general.”
Veteran forward Sam Gagner has been through rebuilds similar to the Wings’ while he was in Edmonton.
Gagner feels he can help the Wings’ younger players with his NHL experience.
“Your top players need to be insulated with depth that can help in a lot of different ways,” Gagner said. “We have a great group of young player that have really taken a step and need to continue to do so.
“I, personally, think I have a lot of game left, and I think Steve (Yzerman) felt the same way,” Gagner said. “It’s just a matter of being prepared, which I feel like I am. If everyone goes out and does their part, it helps everyone take a step forward.”
The Wings remain a popular team for the national television networks.
The national schedule, released Wednesday, shows the Wings will be on nationally 10 times, three of which are on NBC.
The games are: Jan. 18 vs. Columbus (noon, NBCSN), Jan. 24 at Chicago (12:30 p.m., NBC), Feb. 3 at Tampa Bay (5:30 p.m., NBCSN), Feb. 7 vs. Chicago (7:30 p.m., NBCSN), Feb. 21 vs. Florida (7 p.m., NBCSN), Feb. 28 at Chicago (7 p.m., NBCSN), March 28 vs. Columbus (3 p.m., NBCSN), April 4 at Tampa Bay (noon, NBC), April 19 at Dallas (7:30 p.m., NBCSN), and May 2 vs. Tampa Bay (3 p.m., NBC).