"I would rather and I think they would rather too that I play 20 minutes in Grand Rapids than be one of eight defensemen in the NHL and hardly play."--Jakub Kindl
Looks like the twenty-two year old Czech native may have learned a thing or two while playing with the Griffins alongside Jonathon "Big Rig" Ericsson. Johnny, who played 19 regular season games with the Wings at the tail end of the season and then 22 post-season games, had this prediction for Kindl:
"You're going to have the same kind of year I had last year. I can see that in you."
Big Rig went on:
"He knows what it's all about. It took me a few seasons. I think he would like to follow the same steps that I did. He knows that they will be patient, give him time to be really ready when he gets the call."
Former defensman Jiri Fischer had some kind words to add as well:
"He certainly has a great chance. In our organization, everybody has to earn the chance, then everybody has to grab the chance. I think he's on the right path, the way he's been working and progressing. I'm hoping he's going to have a good camp and good season as he did last year, as long as he keeps working He made tremendous progress. Confidence wise I think he really established himself in the American Hockey League. For young defensemen, we look for steadiness, no turnovers, leadership. He's very offensively gifted, very smart."
Kindl played in the AHL All-Star game last season with goalie Daniel Larsson. He is one of six round one draft picks from 2005 (19th overall), that has not yet debuted in a regular season NHL game. Others more fortunate from that draft include Bobby Ryan, Carey Price, Anze Kopitar, and somebody who like to punch people in the crotch from behind.
Kindl's contract turns one way after this season, so don't expect to see him in Van Andel Arena next year except for the annual Red Wings practice and meet-n'-greet.