It’s not the signing Detroit Red Wings fans were hoping to hear about Monday morning, but it’s a signing nonetheless.
“The Wings have signed forward Marek Tvrdon, their 115th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, to a three-year, two-way contract.
The Slovak winger will make $65,000 in Grand Rapids, or $617,500 with a $92,500 signing bonus if he makes the Wings.”
At 19 years of age, the 6’2” 212 lb winger has spent his last two seasons with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, accumulating 40 goals and 51 assists in 78 regular season and playoff games, sometimes in flashy fashion.
Strong performances like that earned Tvrdon a spot alongside countryman and fellow Wings’ prospect Tomas Jurco on the Slovakian roster at the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships, where he recorded 6 points in 6 games.
Things aren’t all positive with Tvrdon though, as Red Wings Central notes…
“Has more than enough talent to dominate games, but doesn’t do so on a consistent enough basis yet … Streaky scorer … Doesn’t play with enough intensity on a nightly basis … Not a bruiser despite having the skating ability and size to make a more significant impact.”
…citing a quote from Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson and Vancouver Giants head coach Don Hay as further evidence.
“Tvrdon showed some stuff I like — he’s a big body and he has a good feel for the game — but looks like his intensity has to come up a bit.”
“He knew that Detroit (director of player development Jiri Fischer) was there (for a four-point game on Oct. 21, 2011) and that was a big part of (his strong play). He has to do it every night — not just when
Detroit is here. Was it a breakout game? I want to know why he can’t play like that every game. If he can do it once, he should be able to do it again and again. That’s what we want from him.”
But Tvrdon does have his strengths, drawing comparisons to the aforementioned Jurco, Slovakian superstar and ex-Wing Marian Hossa, as well as current Red Wings forward Johan Franzen for his size and scoring ability, as Derek Zona of Cooper & Blue reported prior to Tvrdon’s draft year.
Regional scout Dan Swallows:
“He simply loves to score, and has done exactly that through his first 6 games with Vancouver, putting up 4 goals and 2 assists. At 6-foot-2, 212-pounds, Tvrdon is a big, strong winger with really good hands, in the same mold as fellow Slovak Marián Hossa. He simply has an outstanding offensive skill set..”
“Tvrdon’s best assets are his tremendous size, his quick release and his net presence. He reminds me a little of the Wings Johan Franzen in that way…”
And again Red Wings Central:
“There’s so much to like about Tvrdon, from his power-forward size to his impressive skill level. He’s similar to his more highly touted countryman, Tomas Jurco, but needs to play with more intensity and improve his consistency.. ”
If Tvrdon can improve on those things which he has been criticized for (inconsistency, physicality, intensity) he could turn into a reliable power forward for the Red Wings down the road. If he doesn’t, he may just be the Grand Rapids Griffins version of Johan Franzen.
There’s no question that Tvrdon is talented.
The question lies with whether or not he possesses the passion and determination to turn that talent into NHL-level skill.
Andrew is a passionate hockey fan at heart, and has been since a very young age. Residing in Michigan, he grew up with the team he currently covers at THW, the Detroit Red Wings.