May 27, 2010

Gluchowski transforming into offensive defender

Nolan Gluchowski wasn't asked to be much of an offensive defenseman in 2008-09, but that was a role he needed to fill during his sophomore year at Detroit Catholic Central. The 5-10, 185-pounder blossomed with the puck on his stick, impressing the Chicago Steel …

Gluchowski was the Steel's fifth-round selection in the May 18 United States Hockey League Futures Draft and will likely play for Chicago in two years, following another season at Catholic Central.

"I was in study hall watching the Draft on the computer when I saw my name pop up," Gluchowski said. "I've been to a few USHL games, when they played the [NTDP] Under-18 and Under-17 teams, so I have a feel for it a little bit. I like the environment and I see myself playing there in my senior year, though if they wanted me this year it would be a decision my family and I would think about."

Gluchowski spent his freshman season playing with the Honeybaked AAA franchise but was pigeon-holed into a role that limited his ability to grow his game. That wasn't the case at CC.

"Our structure demands that our defensemen do certain things offensively to contribute," Shamrocks head coach Todd Johnson said. "Nolan is a good athlete with solid puck skills and we've given him the freedom to explore every facet of his game instead of just telling him 'You have to be this or you have to be that.'

"I think the USHL scouts had the chance to see him do a little bit more than just play defensive hockey and what they thought they knew about him changed overnight. It's just a good thing he had time to make that change because this was his draft year."

Gluchowski recorded a goal and 12 assists and was plus-24 in 31 games this season for Catholic Central, which won the Division I state title in Michigan.

"It was a lot of fun to play for a team that won it all," the Wixom, Mich., native said. "Especially in the semis, that felt like the championship game for me because we ran five defensemen, and everywhere we looked there were CC fans. It was great.

"I'm really happy with how I played this past year. With Hoenybaked, I was all defense, defense, defense, but I became much more offensive. Instead of just getting the puck to the forwards, I brought it up the ice myself and was able to get things started. I felt a lot more comfortable, like this is my game."

Next year, Gluchowski will anchor the blue line corps while improving his game and delving into recruiting.

Gluchowski hasn't become too involved in the recruiting process yet. His mother is a Michigan State graduate and is always propping up the Spartans but the 16-year old wouldn't mind seeing Miami, Boston College, Boston University and a myriad of other schools in the CCHA and Hockey East.

"I know there are '94s out there committing but those are the kids that are blessed from the heavens, and, honestly, I think that's a little too early for a young man to be deciding on his future," Johnson said. "I don't know who will come calling for Nolan down the road here but if he continues to develop, he's going to attract a lot of attention."

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