Nate Danielson was quite impressive in his debut with the Detroit Red Wings. Danielson, 19, a first-round pick from this summer’s draft, scored Tuesday evening and played in many meaningful situations.
Danielson was selected ninth overall by the Detroit Red Wings, their first of two first-round selections in 2023. The 6-foot-2 two-way center played around 17 minutes in Detroit’s first preseason contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Danielson ripped a shot past former Red Wing netminder Alex Nedeljkovic from the right hash. It’s a goal Nedeljkovic will want back. The shot wasn’t exactly a laser, but it found its way under his right arm and into the net.
Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde elected to use Danielson a total of three minutes on the power play, and he was also out on the ice during the last minute of the game as the Penguins were looking to tie the game with their goaltender on the bench.
Nate Danielson was very impressive in his Detroit Red Wings debut.
"“It’s very valuable,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “He’s building off a good rookie tournament, good camp in Traverse City.“He was good tonight. We’d like to get him back in there soon.”"
One thing that stood out watching the game live was Danielson’s skating ability. He seems like an above-average skater with solid hands and creativity. He also seemed very confident without the puck on his stick and seemed to be always in the proper position. General manager Steve Yzerman loves two-way centers and mentioned that Danielson checks that box moments after making the draft selection. Yzerman also said that he’s a good ‘all-around’ prospect.
Detroit Red Wings fans saw the moose loose for the first time in quite some time. Forward Michael Rasmussen returned to the lineup after suffering a season-ending knee injury in late February. Rasmussen also scored and recorded a pair of shots. Rasmussen was also impressed with Danielson’s debut.
"“He’s impressive,” Rasmussen said. “He’s really poised, just goes about his business, good attitude. Works hard. It’s nice to see him get rewarded. Besides the goal I thought he played really well, too. I just think he handles himself really well — hockey sense, skill, patience. He seems like he’s got a good head on his shoulders.”"
Lalonde also mentioned that although Danielson had a good showing, he was far from perfect. Sure, Detroit’s head coach didn’t expect the rookie to play a perfect game; this was just a way to pump the brakes on some of the hype that was beginning to build following the first game. Lalonde mentioned that Danielson did many good things but also took a holding penalty and found himself holding onto the puck too long at certain times. Lalonde said it’s primarily due to the pace of play at the NHL level compared to junior, and Danielson will get up to speed the more he plays.
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Detroit will play their second of eight preseason games Thursday evening against the Washington Capitals. The game will be televised on the NHL Network. The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m.