Detroit Red Wings' top 2023 pick Nate Danielson earns two assists in prospects game

Nate Danielson did what he should Thursday: Show the Detroit Red Wings he is a top prospect.

The team's top pick in the 2023 draft had two assists in the first game of the prospects tournament, which the Wings ended up losing, 4-2, to the Dallas Stars' prospects. The event runs through Sunday at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City and precedes Wings training camp, which begins Sept. 21.

"It was the first real game in a while, so it took a little bit just to get into it," Danielson said. "But overall, I felt pretty good."

Nate Danielson is selected by the Detroit Red Wings with the ninth overall pick during round one of the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena on June 28, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Grand Rapids Griffins coach Dan Watson was on the Wings bench running the show. He said Carter Mazur sustained a lower-body injury and will need to see doctors for tests.

The Wings next play Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets' prospects.

Danielson earned his first assist in the first period. Elmer Söderblom made it look easy to play down low when he pushed off a defender and swiped the puck in from the right goal post in the first period. The Wings stayed close to the Stars for most of the game, with the last goal scored just as Jan Bednar was pulled from Detroit's net with about 1:17 to play. Defenseman Antti Tuomisto also scored.

The tournament is an excellent opportunity for a young player such as Danielson to test himself against other top players. He has spent the summer working on getting stronger and quicker.

"There are a bunch of great players here," Danielson said. "I want to have a good showing here and play the best I can. It will be a good test for me."

Watson called Danielson "a real smart player. He plays a 200-foot game. He makes plays, he sees plays, he anticipates the game well. He's going to be a really good player.

"That's the first time I've really seen him live. I like where his head is at. He is mature for his age."

Marco Kasper, the Wings' first-round pick in 2022 (who played one game for them in April), also stood out.

"I thought he competed extremely hard," Watson said. "He was finishing checks. He's got good stick detail. He's going to find that offensive touch here for sure. But just another smart player, moves his feet well and makes players around him better. I liked his game."

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her @helenestjames.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings' Nate Danielson earns two assists in prospects game