The seventh edition of my Red Wings prospect profile series examines the newest prospect added to the organization: Tomas Nosek.
Center – Czech Republic – Age 21
6-foot-2, ~190 pounds – Shoots Left-handed
Free Agent – Signed June 14, 2014
Career Stats (Regular Season Only)
Strengths / Weaknesses
+ Size, Playmaker, Versatility
- Injury Prone, Skating, Shot Mechanics
Tomas Nosek is hoping he can be the answer to relieve some of the Red Wings’ burden after losing their 2nd round pick to the Nashville Predators in the David Legwand trade that didn’t work as planned. After being passed over in four consecutive NHL entry drafts, Nosek finally found the attention he was craving for as an unrestricted free agent. Reports confirm that at least six other NHL teams were interested in signing him.
So, what’s all the fuss about? The short version: the kid has some game, until he is sitting out with another injury. Just take a look at this…
The dekes and dangles! While it can be said it’s not very impressive since it is the Czech ExtraLiga, that still takes noteworthy talent to pull off such a goal. By observation, Nosek is a go-to playmaker who will attempt to fulfill the skates Calle Jarnkrok left after being shipped off to Nashville. The Wings classify Nosek as a center, but he has no problems shifting over to play on the wings; much like Henrik Zetterberg. It must be said that Nosek is better off as a center anyways with numerous Wings’ prospect fighting to make it to the NHL as wingers.
Along with Nosek’s creativity and versatility he also brings forth his size. With the abundance of small crafty skaters the Wings have (Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Darren Helm, etc.) it seems like they are going back to the well one too many times. However, the Wings really have nothing to lose with this experiment and everything to gain.
If Nosek stays healthy, adapts to North American style of hockey, and finds ways to contribute, then the Wings have not only added another skill player, but one that can protect himself out on the ice. Surveying the projected Wings’ centers to the start the season (Datsyuk, Helm, Sheahan and Weiss/Andersson) I have no problems with Nosek eventually replacing Weiss or Andersson if he continues to develop and stays injury free.
- Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)
- Mikko Koivu (Minnesota Wild)
- Derick Brassard (New York Rangers)
The foundation for making these NHL comparisons relied on two key factors: Nosek’s body type and two-way style of play. Surprisingly enough I couldn’t find any current Red Wings to fit that player mold. A vital observation as to why the organization thinks Nosek has a realistic chance of making it to the NHL someday.
Outside of Detroit I tried to find players that are skilled with the puck, can win faceoffs, and are considered team players. Then I separated it three categories: elite, great, and expectant. If Nosek is actually a future superstar in disguise because of injuries then he could be the next Jonathan Toews. If that’s not quite his level then the next step down would be someone like Mikko Koivu.
Lastly, and the most realistic comparison I think, is Derick Brassard who for the most part is a bottom line point producer, although talented. Brassard looks good when he is playing well, but is invisible when things aren’t going his way.
Nobody really knows what to expect from Nosek yet. Of course the Red Wings think they have found another diamond in the rough but we truly won’t know until he gets a few AHL/NHL games under his belt. Personally, I think Nosek will have his fair share of moments but will disappear for games at a time whenever he gets his chance in Hockeytown.
Or, worst case scenario, he gets injured again and is completely forgotten about. For his sake alone I hope that doesn’t happen because that would be brutal after everything he has gone through.
Nosek is on a two-year entry level contract which doesn’t give him a lot of time to make a favorable first impression on the coaching staff. He will need to make a statement early and prove the Red Wings made the right decision by pursuing his signature. Given that the Wings are lacking prospects at the center position, Nosek will get a chance to make the NHL roster out of the preseason training camps but I can’t see him making the transition from European hockey to NHL hockey in a single offseason.
So, want to see Tomas Nosek next season? Get out to the Van Andel Arena to support the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Other Red Wings’ Prospect Profiles
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