Photo by Peter Fish

Detroit Red Wings Development Camp: Talking With Mike McKee

Mike McKee was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the fifth round (140 overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft from the Lincoln Stars of the USHL.

At 6’4″ and 245 pounds, of pure muscle, Mike McKee is the biggest and strongest player on the ice for the Detroit Red Wings and for such a big player his skating ability and speed are impressive.

After two seasons with the Lincoln Stars, Mike McKee enrolled in Western Michigan University to play for Andy Murray.

In his first season at Western Michigan University, McKee played in twenty-one games and registered one goal, while battling injuries and being moved around between the offense and defense.

McKee talked about playing both offense and defense, “I think I can play either position, I don’t really have a preference. It is wherever they need me to play, I will play.”

McKee is willing to play wherever the coach wants him to play, but he seems to like playing on the offensive side of the puck. Detroit has McKee as a F/D on their Development Camp roster, but with Alexey Marchenko not practicing the coaches have kept him exclusively on defense and he has been impressive.

More than a few times a player would try to check McKee as he is coming down the boards with the puck, but instead of separating McKee from the puck the players would bounce right off of him and McKee would continue on his path into the zone like nothing happened.

When asked whether his physicality would be suited better for defense or offense McKee said, “That is hard to say, could do both. Play [defense], try to play the same way and forwards try to get in on the fore-check and play the same way. So I think you can bring it to both positions.”

Mike McKee has been the best defenseman on the ice for Detroit at Development Camp and he could slide right into the line-up with Grand Rapids next year if the Wings wanted him there and he wanted to leave Western.

Instead, Mike McKee will spend one or two more years at Western and use his time there to improve on his offensive production, which was severely lacking in his first year in the NCAA.

Making the transition from a hitting/fighting league in the USHL to a fast paced/no fighting allowed league in the NCAA. Transitioning from 200+ PIM to just over 50 PIM is not easy, but Mike McKee is more than a good enough all-around player to do just that and I expect his point total to rise by ten or twenty next season.

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