Marco Kasper is just what the doctor ordered for the Detroit Red Wings

(Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
(Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings’ top prospect, Marco Kasper, made his NHL debut Sunday night in Toronto and looked the part.

Kasper, 18, was selected eighth overall by the Detroit Red Wings less than a year ago, yet did not look out of place during his NHL debut anchoring head coach Derek Lalonde’s second line. Kasper began his career sandwiched between veteran Andrew Copp and second-year winger Lucas Raymond.

Fans need to shelf their offensive expectations for Kasper for the remainder of this season; a successful final stretch of the season will include his ability to generate chances on offense and be a reliable two-way center that doesn’t put himself or the team in a bad position while he’s on the ice. The two-way center displayed some offensive play-making ability despite not generating a point. More importantly, he also proved he can be very reliable in all three zones. Once he gains his confidence and becomes comfortable in Detroit’s system, the offense should follow.

Marco Kasper was very solid in his debut with the Detroit Red Wings.

Kasper also proved Sunday night that he would not be intimidated at this level. Detroit’s top prospect was willingly mixing it up first with Calle Jarnkrok and then Timothy Liljegren, which then caused quite the ruckus. At the time, all on the ice together for Detroit were Kasper, Moritz Seider, Simon Edvinsson, Lucas Raymond, and Andrew Copp.

Following Sunday’s game, Lalonde spoke about how well Kasper played.

"“I thought Marco was great,” coach Derek Lalonde told media in Toronto after the game. “Simple game, safe game, good team game, never got himself in trouble. Was around the net.“For a first game, under these type of circumstances, he passed with flying colors.”"

Kasper played 15 minutes and recorded one shot on goal. He will need to improve on his faceoffs at the NHL level, as he won just one of eight draws. As the game went on, Copp began to take more of the faceoffs on that second line and then would slide back over to the wing during the play.

With Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League this season, Kasper played 52 games, scoring eight goals and adding 15 assists for 23 points.

Detroit Red Wings fans have been hoping for some toughness and grit in the lineup, and while Kasper isn’t a ‘tough guy,’ there is a bit of sandpaper to his game. The days of rostering a bona fide fighter are well behind us, but it’s nice to see players on the roster who won’t be afraid to cause a commotion once in a while or stick up for their teammates.

Kasper is considered day-to-day with a minor lower-body issue that is bothering him. The team will see how he feels Tuesday before making a decision on whether he will play in Montreal or not.

Watching Sunday’s game, I thought about how attractive a line of Kasper between Michael Rasmussen and Carter Mazur would be for the fans. Although that line might not be part of Lalonde’s plans in the future, it would have plenty of fan appeal.

Next. Lucas Raymond’s scoring slump nothing to be concerned about. dark

Detroit desperately needs to find a second center to pair with Dylan Larkin; hopefully, Kasper can be just that soon.