General Manager Dave Drinkill announced today that 2016 Detroit Red Wings second round draft pick Filip Hronek
has committed to play the 2016-17 season for the Saginaw Spirit.
“We are pleased that Filip has committed to the Saginaw Spirit for the 2016-17 season,” Drinkill said in a press release. “He is an extremely talented offensive defenseman that will be a critical core piece of our team for this season. Filip has the ability and skill set to be an elite player in the OHL and we are going to do whatever we can to make sure that he maximizes his potential while spending the season in Saginaw. I know that his end goal like most players is to play in the NHL, and after being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings, it is the perfect scenario for everyone involved. The fans of Saginaw are really going to enjoy coming to see Hronek play and should be very excited about this commitment. I want to welcome Filip to the Saginaw Spirit family and look forward to a great year ahead.”
Hronek, a 6-foot 165-pound 18 year old from Hradec Králové, Czech Republic was drafted by the Red Wings in the second round (53 overall) in the 2016 NHL draft after playing the 2015-16 season for Mountfield HK
of the Czech Extraliga
Spirit alternate governor, Jimmy Devellano
, who in 1984 became the first NHL GM to assemble a European scouting staff, is happy to see Hronek so close to Detroit where he and Red Wings director of player development, Jiri Fischer
(also from Czech Republic) will be able to follow his progress.
“As an organization, we are very pleased to have Filip Hronek just up the road from Detroit,” Devellano said. “I know (Red Wings GM) Ken Holland is thrilled and Jiri Fischer is thrilled to have him close to Detroit where we can get to see him. Our scouts in Europe tell me (Hronek) is a top tier defenseman that will help solidify the back end.”
With training camp ready to start Mon Aug. 29 at the Dow Event Center, the Spirit are close to having all of the pieces to the puzzle in order. Following a busy summer where they hired a new coach, new assistant coach, signed 3 of their top 5 draft picks from the 2016 OHL priority selection draft, signed one of their 2015 draft picks, while adding an experienced over aged defenseman
, Drinkill has this Spirit organization pointing in a positive direction.
The commitment of Hronek gives the Spirit three NHL drafted defensemen, along with Keaton Middleton
(Toronto Maple Leafs fourth round pick, 101 overall in the 2016 NHL draft), and Markus Neimeläinen
(Edmonton Oilers third round pick, 63 overall in the 2016 NHL draft). Add to that list Spirit goal tender Evan Cormier
(New Jersey Devils fourth round pick, 105 overall in the 2016 NHL draft).
The Red Wings are creating an NHL pipeline that starts in Saginaw and heads down I-75 straight to Hockeytown. Former Spirit player Jan Muršak
was drafted by the Red Wings in 2006 and played in Detroit at different times from 2010 through the 2013 season. Jake Paterson
is currently playing for the Red Wings' AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins after being drafted by Detroit in the third round (80 overall) of the 2012 NHL draft.