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Biggs is proud, physical American force

Sunday, 06.19.2011 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Biggs is proud, physical American force
Tyler Biggs
The NHL draft will be held June 24-25 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. For the second time in franchise history, the Red Wings will have the No. 24 selection.

Each week leading up to the June draft, will feature a top prospect that they believe will likely be available late in the first round.

Today's feature:

If Tyler Biggs wasn't such an extraordinarily talented hockey player for the U.S. National Team Development Program's under-18 team, he might be wearing military fatigues serving his country somewhere.

No doubt about it, Biggs is a proud American.

"I take pride in representing my country and I guess, for me, (the military) was definitely an idea," Biggs told "I can't see myself doing much more than hockey, but then there was always that (military). I have the utmost respect for our servicemen and women, and to be a part of something like that would mean a lot to me, I think."

That Biggs bleeds red, white and blue despite holding dual U.S./Canada citizenship (his parents are Canadian) is one reason why he was a unanimous choice as captain for the USNTDP's U-18 team this season.
"I've always been a guy who has led by example more than anything," said Biggs, who was born in Binghamton, N.Y. "I think if something truly needs to be said, I'm going to say it and my teammates understand that. But for the most part, staying positive on the bench and keeping the guys going is all a part of being a captain.

"And if I need to change the momentum, whether it's with a big hit or big shift or even a fight, I'd definitely be able to do it."

At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Biggs rarely is intimidated. He skates well, is physical, tough and can effectively attack the net with or without the puck.

"He has that leadership quality … that desire, that passion, that competitiveness," NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee told "He just never quits. He's a young player who has taken the role as leader of his team. He does most of their fighting when they have to fight. He's kind of the guy that when someone starts picking on somebody, he's standing up for them. I think while wearing the 'C' may have taken a little away from his offensive finish, my gut feeling is that I can't think of anything else but an uphill path for Tyler."

Biggs is No. 22 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2011 Entry Draft, a drop of 17 spots from his No. 5 position in the mid-term rakings, released in January. In his first full season with the Under-18 Team, Biggs had 19 goals, 31 points and a team-leading 161 penalty minutes in 55 games. In 15 international games, he had 6 goals and 10 points.

Biggs, who compares his style of play to that of Calgary's Jarome Iginla, considers his size and strength two of his strongest assets.
"I'm going to play in my own end as much as I do in the offensive end," Biggs said. "I take pride in getting the puck out and doing the little things, but I'm a big body and I have speed so I'm going to try and use that to my advantage. I'll take pucks to the net and drive the net hard on a rush."

The bottom line on Biggs is that he's going to play physical and he will get shots to the net.

"Tyler is a physical presence out there and he makes room for a lot of our skilled players," USNTDP U-18 coach Ron Rolston told

Biggs also represented the U.S. and won gold medals in the last two International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 World Championships. At this year's tournament, in Crimmitschau, Germany, Biggs' overtime goal gave the U.S. a 5-4 semifinal-round victory against Canada, and he finished the tournament with 2 goals, 3 points, a plus-3 rating and 49 penalty minutes in six games as the U.S. won a third straight gold medal.

In 13 games with the USNTDP under-18 team last season, he had a goal and 2 points while appearing in all seven games with the U.S. team that captured the gold medal at the 2010 World U-18 Championship in Belarus. Biggs also played a part in his team's four-game sweep in the U-18 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic in February, as the U.S. outscored the opposition 26-11.

Following the Entry Draft, Biggs will continue his career at Miami University (Ohio), located 40 minutes from his current home in Cincinnati. Biggs also had offers from Michigan and Notre Dame.

"Right off the bat I had a great relationship with the (Miami) coaching staff and just the atmosphere during a game was incredible," Biggs said. "It doesn't hurt that the school is less than an hour away from a home-cooked meal, either."

He wears jersey No. 22 since it's the same number his father, Don, wore in a 16-year professional hockey career that included stints with the NHL's Minnesota North Stars and Philadelphia Flyers.

Don Biggs was drafted by the North Stars in the eighth round (No. 156) of the 1983 Entry Draft. Tyler no doubt will be taken sooner than that -- and not only because the Draft now only has seven rounds. Tyler even could hear his name called as early as the opening round on June 24.

"To be drafted in the same state that was home to my father in the early years of his professional career is pretty cool," Biggs said. "It's exciting and it's coming soon."

Prior to joining the NTDP, Biggs had 40 goals and 87 points in 72 games with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens AAA team in 2008-09. He admits the success there spurred him to continue playing hockey for as long as he could.

"That was a huge year for me," Biggs said. "I knew that if I wanted to get to the next level, I would have to get out there and I had all my family in Toronto, so I think that helped. I had a good year and things took off from there. One thing led to another and I was eventually given a chance to play for the (USNTDP) and took it."

Having the opportunity to wear the USA jersey on a daily basis has been a dream for Biggs.

"A big part of the U-17 year was getting bigger and stronger and getting used to the faster play and bigger guys," Biggs said. "This year, the coaches have helped me and I've helped myself in adapting into a role and learning that role. When things go wrong, I just focus on the little things and what I should be doing. Taking that approach can turn a game around so that's what I've focused on most of the year."




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80