DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings are hoping they have stumbled onto another hidden gem overseas.
The team is close to signing Tomas Nosek, of the Czech Republic, to a two-year, two-way entry-level deal.
“He’s a competitive guy, but needs to bulk up,” said Detroit assistant general manager Ryan Martin, who hopes to have the deal done within the next 24 hours. “He has the ability to protect the puck down low.”
Martin added that Nosek, who’ll be 22 in September and went undrafted, will compete for a job with the Wings, who beat out a handful of teams for his services.
“If he doesn’t make it, our expectations are he’ll play in Grand Rapids,” Martin said.
Jiri Fischer, the Wings’ director player development, coached Nosek, who’s a two-way center or can play wing, on the Czech junior team in 2011-12.
“He’s very smart,” Fischer said. “He was a late bloomer. He was on our radar his draft year, but he was injured so he didn’t get drafted.
“He’s a smart player and does the little things right,” Fischer continued. “He can move up and down the lineup. He really did a great job this season. He was the best player on Pardubice.”
Nosek had 19 goals and 25 assists in 52 games with HC Pardubice in the Czech Extraliga.
“He can run the power play at that level, but we’ll see how it translates to North America,” Fischer said. “He needs to get stronger and work on his skating. He is a very willing and hard worker.”
Wings scout Vladimir Havluj was high on Nosek during his draft year.
“Vlady really liked him his draft year,” Martin said. “He kept in contact with him and watched his development closely.”
Also helping Detroit possibly land Nosek is his agent Ales Volek, who’s Tomas Jurco’s agent.
Volek liked what Grand Rapids coach Jeff Blashill did to help develop Jurco.
“I’m very excited about him,” Fischer said. “He’s very smart and very responsible defensively. He makes good plays.”
Fischer added that Nosek is more of a playmaker than a natural finisher.
“This past year he worked on his shot,” Fischer said. “He just keeps getting better every year.”
Nosek’s hometown of Pardubice is also the hometown of Jakub Kindl, Dominik Hasek, Ales Hemsky and Milan Hejduk.
“He can run the power play at that level. We’ll see how it translates to North America.”
They’re hoping he can attend the development camp next month to get acclimated to the organization.
The Wings had success finding players under the radar overseas, the last of which was Damien Brunner, who played the lockout shortened 2012-13 season in Detroit. He had 12 goals and 14 assists in 44 games.
Brunner left after one season and inked a deal with New Jersey.
The Wings are hoping Nosek can attend the development camp next month to get acclimated to the organization.