Nate Danielson Makes Professional Debut for Grand Rapids Griffins

Photo via Detroit Hockey Now

Detroit Red Wings prospect Nate Danielson has made his professional debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins at the age of 19. Danielson was drafted by the Red Wings ninth overall in the 2023 NHL entry draft out of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. On Saturday, Danielson was reassigned to the Griffins. In a short time, Danielson is well on his way to one day making the Red Wings’ roster. Danielson joined the Griffins after the team took a 2-0 series lead against the Milwaukee Admirals in the Central Division Finals of the Calder Cup Finals.

By doing this Danielson became just the sixth player and fourth first-round draft pick to make his Griffins debut during the playoffs a year after he was drafted. The others include names such as Jason Spezza, current Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin, and former Red Wing Evgeny Svechnikov. The history of these two Red Wings, in an admittedly small sample size, is an example of how difficult drafting the right players can be. Svechnikov’s brother Andrei is a superstar right-winger for the Carolina Hurricanes.

The General manager of the Red Wings, Steve Yzerman, must not be surprised by Danielson’s meteoric rise through Detroit’s system. On the night of the draft, Yzerman was quoted as saying, “He’s got pretty good size, he’s a good skater, he’s got good skills. There’s a lot to like about him, really. Just a solid all-around prospect.” Connor Bedard, drafted first overall in the same draft as Danielson by the Chicago Blackhawks, described Danielson as the toughest defender in the WHL.

At 6’2” and 187 lbs. Danielson can create offense off the rush. Danielson uses both natural speed and puck-handling skill to turn the corner on defensemen in the offensive zone. His size and strong motor indicate that Danielson can be an NHL center one day. These traits also slot Danielson into whatever powerplay unit the Red Wings see fit for the 19-year-old. Recently, Danielson scored one goal and added two assists in five games for Team Canada at the under-20 World Junior Championships.

Aspects of Danielson’s game that are particularly intriguing are his 200-foot-game and an early taking to the defensive side of the game. Danielson recently completed his WHL season with 24 goals and 43 assists for a total of 67 points and a plus-26 rating in 54 games played for the Brandon Wheat Kings and Portland Winterhawks. The 19-year-old also scored seven goals and added 17 assists for 24 points in 18 postseason games for the Winterhawks. These 24 points ranked fifth on the WHL during the 2024 Finals.

Winterhawks right-winger Marcus Nguyen sang the praises of Danielson while he was on the roster saying, “I’ve got McDavid over here.” It is not fair to compare the 19-year-old to the best player in the NHL. Danielson scored 12 goals and added 29 assists for 41 points in 28 games played for the Winterhawks after being traded by the Wheat Kings during the 2023-24 WHL season. McDavid scored 44 goals and added 76 assists for an astonishing 120 points in 47 games played for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League in 2014-15.

Danielson may have a long way to go to get to the Red Wings’ lineup. He has started this journey by making his debut with the Griffins Yzerman has indicated that Danielson has a place on the Red Wings team. Until then, he can lean on the fact that he made his professional debut only a year after he was drafted ninth overall in the 2023 NHL entry draft.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
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