Why Frank Nazar was ready to stare with Steve Zerman of the Detroit Red Wings
Frank Nazar’s NHL United in Buffalo, New York, June 4, 2022;
Helen St. James, Detroit Free Press
The Detroit The Red Wings are the reason Frank Nazar III started playing hockey, and is now ready to add a huge dose of excitement to rebuilding them.
Nizar was among the general manager of players Steve Yzerman and select members of his squad were interviewed at the NHL earlier this month in Buffalo. It was a thrill for Nizar, a native of Mount Clemens and producer of the USA National Hockey Development Team, and a chance to cement the wings as Nizar ranks on their draft paper.
He had an answer ready for why Wings should pick him.
“Definitely my competitiveness and ability to perform plays,” Nizar told the Free Press. “I think that’s something the Wings will need going forward. I think I can pair really well with (Dylan) Larkin, being quick players who always bring high consistency and a high pace to the game, and then always able to play. I’d be super excited if I was recruited by the Red Wings. “.
Related: Why crafting a Cutter Gauthier would be a boon to the Detroit Red Wings at No. 8
In three drafts led by Zzermann, he used first-round picks for defender Moritz Ceder (2019), winger Lucas Raymond (2020), defender Simon Edvinson and goalkeeper Sebastian Kosa (both 2021). The Wings need an excellent potential position, and that is Nazar’s allure. He has a combination of speed, hockey sense and competitiveness and might be the best option available in the eighth. Strikers Shane Wright, Logan Cooley and Juraj Slavkowski are expected to be the top three picks when the draft begins on July 7 in Montreal, and centers Cutter Gautier and Connor Gekke may be off the plate soon after.
[SEARCH FOR A COACH: Bruce Cassidy, who used to coach in Detroit Red Wings’ system, now available]
[SERGEI RETURNING? Vegas favors Sergei Fedorov as next coach of Detroit Red Wings]
Nizar, 18, is one of the hottest players in the draft thanks to his fast feet and snatching hands. (The Montreal Canadiens asked prospects in interviews what animal they would be; Nizar answered the cheetah, the world’s fasting terrestrial animal.) He scored 43 goals and assisted 62 in 80 games last season, spread over the U-18s and USHL. He plays bigger than his 5-foot-10, 181-pound frame, fights through physical contact to make games all over the ice and uses his speed to veer away from defenders.
“Seeing me there with the ice skating,” said Nizar. “She helps me create a lot of chances, a lot of first-class chances. I feel I give a lot to the team, that I create a lot of chances and I don’t give up a lot on the defensive side.”
Nizar is committed to playing for Michigan come the fall, placing him in an elite program that in 2021 spawned three of the top five draft picks (No. 1 Owen Power, No. 2 Matthew Benners and No. 5 Kent Johnson).
Nazar, who shoots on the right, can play in the center or the right wing. He has been involved in the game since he was about six years old, when his father was watching a match on Wings and Nazar entered the room.
“The Red Wings is the reason I got into hockey,” Nizar said. “Only my dad is a hockey fan and watcher. I walked in one day and he asked me if it was something I wanted to do. It was my first time on the ice.”
Spending 20 minutes with Yzerman and Kris Draper, the amateur scouting manager, in the combine was a quick twist.
“I was definitely a little nervous,” Nizar said. “I didn’t know exactly what he was going to say or think. I realized with a handshake, ‘Man, I’m standing here with Steve Laserman.’” It’s amazing, to be from Detroit.
“I was nervous that he was going to look me in the eye and stare at me, but when I sat down, he was very nice and easy for me to come in and answer some questions. Mr. Draper was mostly asking questions and Mr. Yzerman was ignoring them and throwing some questions about Michigan.”
Contact Helen St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter Tweet embed. Read more at Detroit Red Wings and sign up for the Red Wings newsletter. Her book The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Customized copies are available via her email.