When Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock watched a couple of Grand Rapids Griffins games during the lockout, he admits Brian Lashoff didn't strike him as anything more than a seventh or eighth NHL defenseman. “And then as we watched him more in Grand Rapids – and talked to (Griffins coach Jeff Blashill) a lot – we decided that he would be the eighth guy to come into training camp,'' Babcock said. “He got started with us, got confidence. He’s been back up and he’s been excellent.'' Lashoff, 22, impressed the Red Wings enough in his brief time with the club to earn a three-year, $2.175 million contract extension on Monday. He didn't think an offer would come this quickly (he's played only 15 games) but said it was fairly easy to get a deal done. “This is the organization that gave me a chance when I was 18 years old and undrafted,'' Lashoff said Tuesday, after practice at the Toyota Center. “That says a lot about them, and just to get the opportunity to play here has been good.” Babcock can be hard on young players, but it didn't take him long to warm up to Lashoff. “He’s very intelligent in the game,'' Babcock said. “He moves the puck well. He shoots the puck well, and he has big size (6-3, 215). He’s been a good fit for our team.'' Babcock had enough confidence in Lashoff to use him for several games on the top defense pairing with Niklas Kronwall. “From Day 1, I’ve been put in some key situations; I think that’s a huge confidence-booster for me, and playing against some pretty good players has helped my development as well,'' Lashoff said. “The more ice time I get, I feel better and better.
Brian Lashoff capitalizes on opportunity with Red Wings, happy to have security of three-year deal
Michigan Live | Feb 27