When the Detroit Red Wings drafted Marco Kasper eighth overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the hope was that he would be the answer to the question that has plagued them for the better part of seven years; How would they fill the second-line center position with talent that warranted the position and the responsibilities?
The most common theme coming out of scouting reports from Kasper’s game was continued praise of his two-way play. It’s a trait that Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman and his staff have continuously held in high regard for prospects looking to break into the league.
After his return to Rogle BK in the Swedish Hockey League, Kasper not only worked to develop his play for professional hockey further, but he thrived in doing so. He was able to notch 12 more points during the regular season than he was able to record in the previous season before he was drafted.
Kasper also improved his plus/minus rating by plus-17, speaking to his dedication to impact both ends of the ice. His impressive play did not go unnoticed; in fact, he was named Austria’s Player of The Year by Powerplay Magazine, making him the youngest player ever to win the award.
Detroit Red Wings prospect, Marco Kasper, is turning heads.
Red Wings fans tend to look towards prospects like Simon Edvinsson, Albert Johansson, and even Carter Mazur as players who will be battling it out in training camp next season, trying to cement themselves into the opening night roster. I believe that Marco Kasper should be firmly put into that discussion.
The main concern seems to be that most European players need at least a year to adjust to the North American ice before stepping into the NHL as full-time players. However, Kasper already models his game off of the North American style of hockey. He is strong along the boards and does not shy away from crashing the net to put himself into the dirty areas.
Rushing him into Detroit’s lineup does no good for him or the organization. Still, if he is not ready at camp, there is a strong possibility that he will be brought up along the way after spending some time in Grand Rapids, similar to the path that Edvinsson has taken this season. Reports are that, barring any serious complications, Kasper will be playing hockey in some capacity in North America in 2023.
Whether Derek Lalonde sees his captain, Dylan Larkin, as the team’s first-line center moving forward or not, having Kasper waiting in the minors with expectations to come in and fill the second-line center role has to give him a sense of comfort.
If it plays out that way, the trickle-down effect will only improve the depth of the bottom six forwards. The potential of a Larkin-Kasper-Copp-Veleno center group seems leaps and bounds ahead of where the talent level was just two years ago.