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Brent Raedeke

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Raedeke returns from Red Wings camp


Brent Raedeke sat at home during the summer intently watching the National Hockey League draft on his computer. He patiently, and eagerly waited for his name to be shown on the screen, but it didn't appear.

He did however receive a nice bonus prize.

Just moments after the draft ended, he received a phone call from the Stanley Cup champion, Detroit Red Wings.

"A lot of guys that were rated (for the draft) got passed over, but I couldn't have asked for a better situation to happen to myself. Right after the draft ended I was watching it on the computer and like five minutes after the last pick, Jim Nill (Detroit Red Wings assistant GM) called me and asked me to come to their summer camp," said Raedeke.

"Even though I didn't get my name officially called, it was like I got drafted in the eighth or ninth round.

"I wasn't disappointed at all, to get a call from the Red Wings, they are one of the great organizations in the league. They are the champs."

Raedeke went to their summer camp in July as a free-agent and played well enough that he received another invite to their rookie camp earlier this month.

After taking part in the Red Wings rookie camp tournament in Traverse City, Mich., against several other NHL clubs, he was invited to main camp, where he skated with Wings superstars Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Lidstrom and others.

NHL veterans Chris Chelios and Darren McCarty even took the time to formally introduce themselves to Raedeke.

"I think it's a big vote of confidence (for Brent), it obviously meant they (Red Wings) had a lot of interest in him (prior to and after the draft)," said Oil Kings assistant coach Rocky Thompson.

Thompson played 25 NHL games over his 10-year pro career. He attended several NHL training camps, including the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Edmonton Oilers and the St. Louis Blues.

"My piece of advice was pretty short and sweet. When you go (to an NHL camp), there can be a lot of distractions. It's awesome, the NHL is the NHL and I just told him to be respectful to the organization and don't take advantage of those types of things," said Thompson.

"Take more advantage of the opportunity you've been given and try and go out as hard as you possibly can and he's done that."

Raedeke enjoyed a solid rookie season with the Oil Kings. He was the only player to suit up in all 72 games, and he recorded 15 goals, 16 assists and 31 points.

He made his return to the Oil Kings lineup Wednesday against the Calgary Hitmen in a 4-1 loss and will make his return home tonight when the Oil Kings host the Red Deer Rebels in a home-and-home affair.

Raedeke admits that his first NHL training camp experience was a positive one, and he's looking to use that experience this season with the Oil Kings.

"Going to Detroit's camp, gives me a lot of confidence coming back here. You just want to build on that confidence," said Raedeke.

"I know I am going to get a lot of playing time here, and I expect a lot more out of myself this year."

TEAMMATES AGAIN: Raedeke joined former Oil Kings 20-year-old defenceman Cameron Cepek, who was traded recently to the Prince George Cougars at the Red Wings camp.

"We were on the same team together through the intra-squad games in main camp, and we roomed together," said Raedeke.

"It was a little weird. I talked to him when he got traded, and then two days later we were on the same flight to Detroit's camp.

"It was a good experience for the both of us."

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"We think he has a little bit of Darren Helm in him. He's a good skater with good speed and he's strong on the puck. He's calm on the ice and we like his skating and style of game. He's not scared to go into the corners. He doesn't run guys over but he has strength on the puck and we like the game he plays." — Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill (October 2008).


Hustle, hustle, hustle — you won't find many who work harder ... Fast skater ... Three-zone player with good hockey sense ... Strong on the puck ... Quality faceoff man ... Poised ... Kills penalties ... Good strength for his size and willing to get his nose dirty and win battles.


Needs a big jump in offensive production in the junior ranks to show he has the skill to meet projection as a third- or fourth-line NHL forward ... Needs to get stronger.

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2010 Prospect Camp Review


15 Brent Raedeke

Pluses: Work ethic, work ethic, work ethic, and also work ethic. Brent Raedeke understands that, at this point, the Red Wings expect the 6,” 200-lb center to literally work his way onto the Griffins’ roster as a third or fourth-line grinder, and he is completely comfortable with that concept despite the fact that he posted about a point per game at the WHL level. Raedeke is a superbly speedy skater who can protect the puck fantastically well, has a nice shot and can be counted upon to generate offense in a pinch, but he stars as a two-way forward whose skating gives him the ability to charge in headlong to crash, bang, and most importantly, generate turnovers on the forecheck, cycle the puck down low and toss the puck to more offensively talented players; in the neutral zone, he can both carry the puck into the offensive zone or serve as the first man back defensively, using his positioning and a few choppy stick checks with that short stick of his to swipe the puck off his opponent’s stick, and in his own end, he mucks and grinds with the best of them, digging pucks out of the corners, blocking shots, displaying impeccable positioning to both support his defensemen, cover up for their mistakes, and give them “easy outs” so that he can chip the puck out of trouble in short order. He just works his butt off 100% of the time at 100% effort, he’s enthusiastic about taking part in every drills and wants to know where he should position himself at all times, and he’s also an excellent communicator, making sure that his defensemen and fellow forwards know where to go and how to maximize the Wings’ systems of play to their benefit.

Minuses: He doesn’t possess elite skill in any other area than his skating, and he’s not 6’3.” He might not have the goods to become an offensive superstar at the NHL level, but that’s OK.

Potential “upside”: Ideally, after a few good seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins, in which the affable, again, hard-working Raedeke would work his way up the ranks and become a top-two-line player, the 20-year-old would slowly but surely evolve into a Kris Draper or Dan Cleary-style forward who can kill penalties, play fantastic defensive hockey, possibly chip in 10 goals and 20-30 points, and maybe become the next Justin Abdelkader or Darren Helm in terms of his cult hero status with Wings fans.

He’s certainly going to do his damnedest to earn his way into that territory, and I’m rooting for him.

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From their first prospects tournament game 9/11 in which the Wings won 6 to 1.


Brent Raedeke didn’t register a point, assist, plus or minus or penalty minute, and he didn’t stand out, but he’s not supposed to stand out. He’s supposed to play a strong, sound defensive game while displaying hustle, grit, and much more level-headedness than a player who’s graduating from major junior hockey, utilizing the most of his stocky 6,’ 200-lb frame and short stick (a la Dan Cleary) to get the puck out of trouble in his end, use his solid speed to chug up the ice, dump that puck in or give it to a teammate and either go to the net or get back in position to bail out whoever makes a risky move or mistake, winning a faceoff in the defensive zone on the enusing faceoff or penalty-kill included. He grinds, and he does so intelligently, efficiently, and with no sense of intimidation whatsoever, even when guys like Tassone trying to take his head off, or face #52 for the Stars, Luke Gadzic, a 6’3,” 230-lb horse of a man, trying to bully his way through or over Raedeke. If there is an impediment to getting the puck out of the zone, even if he’s forechecking and is going to try to take your head off, Raedeke will either move out of the way with the puck on his stick or just eat the damn thing, get hit, and make sure that he wins the ensuing battle for the puck.

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Brent Raedeke: I spent a considerable amount of time before and sometimes during games speaking to Brent’s father, so I’m a little biased here. Brent’s a tremendously hard-working, slightly smallish center who’s coming out of the WHL expecting to play as a third or fourth-line center in Grand Rapids, and he certainly possesses the faceoff ability, hard skating, defensive awareness and willingness to “eat the puck” in order to protect it in all three zones, even if that means somebody’s trying to run him into the boards or is going to hack and whack him into slices, that he’s certainly going to excel at the role the Griffins want him to fulfill. Do I think that the way he tucks that short stick into his body when he goes against the grain looks a little Dan Cleary-ish? You bet. He scored a really beautiful goal in the Wings-Blues game and he does have the ability to generate offense, so where he goes from here is up to him, and Mr. Raedeke (it’s RAY-de-kee, though he’s called “Rads") says, Brent understands that he has to approach hockey as a job, though it’s one that he loves. He’s that kind of blue-collar player.


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Rookie Brent Raedeke on fast track to getting Griffins fans to know his name

GRAND RAPIDS -- For the record, Brent Raedeke's last name is pronounced "RED-eh-kee."

The Grand Rapids Griffins rookie center has grown accustomed to people saying it wrong over the years, especially since one of them is current coach Curt Fraser.

"Yeah, I've heard him butcher it a few times," Raedeke said, smiling, after practice Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.

If the 20-year-old from Regina, Saskatchewan, continues to develop at a rapid rate, people will learn a lot sooner how to say his name properly.

Raedeke scored his first two goals of the season in Sunday's 6-3 win at Toronto. His first gave the Griffins a 3-0 lead with 8:30 left in the first period. Less than 3 minutes later, he struck again on the penalty kill with a shorthanded goal.

"Didn't really expect that, but it was nice to finally get that monkey off my back after a few games without scoring," Raedeke said. "Hopefully, it continues. And if it doesn't, I'll try to contribute in other ways."

Raedeke was signed by the parent club Detroit Red Wings as an undrafted free agent after training camp in 2008. He appeared in two late-season games with the Griffins that year, then helped Brandon reach the Western Hockey League's Memorial Cup finals last season.

He is expected to develop into a solid two-way forward who is strong on the penalty kill and can create offense when given the opportunity.

That's what Raedeke expects from himself, too, but he has been surprised by the amount of playing time he has gotten this early in the season. He hopes he can remain consistent throughout the rest of the season, which will help him stay in the lineup.

"Detroit likes to develop their players, work them in slowly," he said. "The better you play, I guess, the more you're going to play. So, hopefully, I can keep playing well and keeping playing more."

Raedeke said it has been a mostly smooth adjustment moving up from the WHL to the American Hockey League.

In fact, the biggest challenge simply has been setting up his new apartment.

"That's basically the biggest adjustment, finding your own place, living on your own and having to pay bills, go grocery shopping, all that stuff," he said. "But that's part of growing up, and it's good practice for the future."

E-mail Michael Zuidema: mzuidema@grpress.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/michaelzuidema

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