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Hockey’s Future’s Top 20 Wings prospect list suggests Wings’ future has room to grow

Via RedWingsFeed, Hockey's Future's Adam Schnepp's released a "mid-season" list ranking his top 20 Red Wings prospects, and given that Wings fans have become familiar with Brendan Smith, Petr Mrazek, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson this year, and especially given the spotlight shining upon Calle Jarnkrok at present, perhaps we should look at Schnepp's take on the "next wave" of prospects instead of the favorites who've either already made the NHL jump or are close to earning full-time NHL employment:

6. (8) Riley Sheahan, C, 7.0C
Drafted 1st round, 21st overall, 2010

Enigmatic may be the best word to sum up Riley Sheahan’s hockey career thus far. He appears to have a great deal of offensive upside, but that came into question after he never scored more than 25 points in a season during his college career at Notre Dame. These questions seem to have been answered, as Sheahan is playing much more like the prospect the Red Wings thought they were getting than the one people were questioning in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Sheahan is currently Grand Rapids’ fourth leading scorer with 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points and also has a plus-12 rating. Sheahan is projected to add size and grit to Detroit’s lineup while also providing a bit of third or fourth line scoring in the near future. One more skill to add to the scouting report on Sheahan: intelligence. He only has 95 shots on goal but is converting those shots to goals at a 16.8% pace.

7. (9) Ryan Sproul, D, 7.0C
Drafted 2nd round, 55th overall, 2011

The 2011-12 season showed that Sproul had rare offensive skills for a defenseman, notching 54 points and leading all OHL defensemen with 23 goals. What has happened in 2012-13, however, is impressive even for a prospect with this type of pedigree. Despite missing six weeks with a broken forearm Sproul has recorded 66 points in only 50 games, including a whopping 46 assists. Sproul has been rewarded for his play by twice being named the OHL's Defenseman of the Month in 2012-13. More improvement is needed on the defensive side of his game, but Sproul will get the time he needs to work on that when he likely moves from the OHL to the AHL in 2013-14.

8. (10) Xavier Ouellet, D, 7.0C
Drafted 2nd round, 28th overall, 2011

Ouellet scored at nearly a point-per-game pace in 2011-12 and appeared poised for a breakout QMJHL season in 2012-13. This breakout season has not come to fruition, but Ouellet has still had a productive season in 2012-13. Ouellet has 41 points in 50 games, with the most severe hit to his statistics coming in the form of goals. Whereas Ouellet scored 21 goals in 63 games in 2011-12 he only has 10 goals in 50 games in 2012-13. Ouellet did have the honor of being selected for Canada's World Junior Championship team and posted one goal and two assists in six games played. Despite the dip in offensive statistics Ouellet still has the hockey IQ and smooth skating ability to play in the AHL, where he will likely ply his trade in 2013-14.

9. (3) Tomas Jurco, RW, 7.0C
Drafted 2nd round, 35th overall, 2011

Moving from the QMJHL to the AHL has not been kind to Tomas Jurco's statistics. Jurco tallied 68 points in 48 games in the QMJHL in 2011-12 but has scored just 21 points in 62 AHL games in 2012-13. This does not, however, mean that Jurco has lost the eye-popping skills that have made him a popular search on Youtube. He still can turn defenders inside out given space but needs to work on his ability to play in traffic. Jurco is a dynamic playmaker whose puck skills speak for themselves, but it is his tremendous work ethic that has endeared him to Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill.  If Jurco continues to work on his game he should have no problem finding a spot on Detroit's top two lines a few years from now.

...

17. (15) Adam Almquist, D, 6.5C
Drafted 7th round, 210th overall, 2009

The North American game has been kind to Almquist's offensive output. He has more goals (6), assists (18), and points (24) in 2012-13 than he ever has in his pro career. At 5'11 and 174 pounds he does not possess ideal NHL size but has largely silenced critics with the improvement in his offensive game. He is a very intelligent player with and without the puck, but still needs to add to his frame if he hopes to handle the rigors of daily NHL action.

Schnepp's list obviously continues...

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Comments

Avatar

Enh.  Prospects, smoshpects.  Holland doesn’t make a bunch of trades so he’s a dope.  Detroit needs a really aggressive, swashbuckling GM so fans can get a two week charge out of pouring over possible line combos and dreaming about how awesome the ‘new’ player is going to be here.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 03/25/13 at 05:37 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

Nice to see Centers and Defencemen in the prospects in the next wave!  Can never have too many of them.

Posted by OnlyWings on 03/25/13 at 05:42 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by
     
    HockeyinHD
     
      on 03/25/13 at 05:37 PM ET

Yeah, it’s not the non-replacing of Rafi, Lidas, Stuart.  it’s not the 2nd round exits, two years in a row, only to be almost swept in the first round last year.

We just want something to talk about.  Thank god we have you.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/25/13 at 05:52 PM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

andersson playing over 20 nhl games is in the bottom half, strange stuff in that list.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 03/25/13 at 06:20 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

Detroit needs a really aggressive, swashbuckling GM

Someone like Holmgren, that seems to working out well for the Flyers…HILARIOUS!!!

Posted by OnlyWings on 03/25/13 at 06:28 PM ET

DAN M's avatar

sheahan should get some run

Posted by DAN M on 03/25/13 at 06:28 PM ET

DAN M's avatar

jimmy howard should be team usa goalie in sochi

Posted by DAN M on 03/25/13 at 06:38 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by
     
    OnlyWings
     
      on 03/25/13 at 06:28 PM ET

Worked out well for L.A. though didn’t it?

And how the Devil’s are ever going to recover the losses in the Kovalchuk trade.

And damn Boston for dealing for Horton, how’d they not blow up the org dealing for a top 6 power forward?

It’s not the trade we want, it’s the acquiring of missing pieces.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/25/13 at 06:50 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

We just want something to talk about.  Thank god we have you.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/25/13 at 05:52 PM ET

I try to talk about him as little as possible.  Invoking his name only coaxes the beast to come out from under the bridge.

Posted by Hootinani on 03/25/13 at 07:03 PM ET

DAN M's avatar

I dont like you whoever you are

Posted by DAN M on 03/25/13 at 07:03 PM ET

Avatar

Yeah, it’s not the non-replacing of Rafi, Lidas, Stuart.

No doubt.  I mean, we see GMs replace elite players that leave/retire all the time.  Did you see how quick the Rangers replaced Messier and Leetch, NJ replaced Stevens and Raffy, Pittsburgh replaced Lemieux and Jagr, and Chicago replaced Roenick and Chelios?  Damn, why can’t Holland be quick on the turnaround like that.  I mean, Jesus, Lidstrom’s been retired for almost three whole months already.  How much time does Holland think we should give him, anyway?

And God knows players like Brad Stuart don’t grow on trees.  Guys who don’t score, but play 18-20 minutes a night and PK decently?  God, it takes years of careful, tedious research to unearth a gem like that.

it’s not the 2nd round exits, two years in a row, only to be almost swept in the first round last year

No doubt.  After all, getting to the second round of the playoffs in a capped league is, like, insulting or something.  And having a couple down years that ‘only’ mean the team loses in the first round? 

Stock up on pitchforks and kindling, HO.  There’s some people who need burnin’, amirite?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 03/25/13 at 07:27 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

It makes me cringe to agree, even marginally, with HD, but those who think Holland missed the boat by not trading two second rounders for Douglas Murray need to look at the guys who are numbers 7, 8 & 9 on that list. Sproul, Ouellet and Jurco were all chosen in the second round in 2011. And Martin Frk (at #10) was a second rounder in 2012.

Obviously, there’s no way to know if the Wings’ second round picks this year and next will turn into quality prospects like those four. But with a top-notch scouting staff like the Wings have, I’d rather gamble on that possibility than give up two second-round picks for a rental guy who won’t make a rat’s ass worth of difference in how far the Wings go this year?

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 03/25/13 at 07:27 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I agree, but I’d entertain what it’d take to get Boyle.  Dont’ have a lot of veteran right handed top pair d-men in the pipeline.  I could give or take on a forward unless it’s a statement piece like Stuey was.  Want him going forward and fits what we need right now.  Don’t know a lot up for grabs, could always hit up Regier.  Heard the Rangers could be looking for an Ian White type.

But two 2nd rounders for Murray is overpaying.  Especially with some of the 2nd round talent we’ve been able to get, Jurko, Frk..

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/25/13 at 08:03 PM ET

Chip4Pips's avatar

It also makes one wonder what Ian White and his right hand shot will be worth as the deadline approaches. If DeKeyser inks this week, White becomes even more expendable than he already is.

Posted by Chip4Pips on 03/25/13 at 08:06 PM ET

Avatar

I mean, we see GMs replace elite players that leave/retire all the time.

Most of them try.

Posted by Garth on 03/25/13 at 09:16 PM ET

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need to look at the guys who are numbers 7, 8 & 9 on that list. Sproul, Ouellet and Jurco were all chosen in the second round in 2011.

When will any of those guys play in the NHL?  Because there are guys who are playing in the NHL right now that could help improve the Red Wings right now.

And how many of these prospects are proven top six NHL scoring wingers?  Because that’s something that Detroit needs now.

If the brass don’t trust Nyquist or Tatar to be top six forwards in the NHL (and the brass clearly don’t think that or at least one of them would’ve gotten a chance to prove themselves as such) then they need to address their needs.

Posted by Garth on 03/25/13 at 09:22 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 03/25/13 at 07:27 PM ET

Good point.

ATTENTION TO ALL NHL GMs:  Don’t bother preparing for the retirement of your best players.  When you lose three of your top four defensemen over the course of to years, the real way to success and rebuilding is to not replace a single one but instead to sign a so-so journeyman defenseman who is as frail as twigs.

Who could ever blame Ken Holland for doing nothing when his best defensemen walk away?  Nobody in their right minds, that’s who!

Posted by Garth on 03/25/13 at 09:43 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The Wings did make attempts to a) replace and b) succeed Lidstrom, Stuart and Rafalski…

But we forget that Niklas Kronwall was drafted way back in 2000 in the hopes of him doing what he’s doing now, that Jonathan Ericsson was so patiently brought along as so many of us said, “Trade him, he’s awful!” so that he could play steady hockey now, Brendan Smith’s immaturity off the ice at the University of Wisconsin and some of his hot-dog tendencies were accommodated for a very long time so that he could be a full-time Wing this season, Kyle Quincey was brought in to serve as at least a bridge between Stuart and, well, Lashoff, the Wings didn’t trade Kindl away because they knew that his skill would come in handy at some point, and the team’s allowed Ian White to pull his, “I’m not asking for a trade, but…” bullshit because they knew they’d need him at some point. Hell, the team signed Colaiacovo not knowing that they’d be employing Lashoff, Kindl and Smith in his place as another band-aid.

The only way you can even attempt to offset the losses of Lidstrom (which was expected), Stuart (ditto) and Rafalski (which came as a surprise) is to over-build on defense in the drafting department (see: continuing to add Almqvist, Sproul, Ouellet, Marchenko, Backman) and to make pitches for free agents.

The Wings struck out last summer with Suter, and Steve Yzerman swiped Salo and Carle while the team was waiting for Suter’s decision. They will watch the compliance buyouts very intently and will attempt to find a top-pair guy this summer.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/25/13 at 10:12 PM ET

Avatar

They will watch the compliance buyouts very intently and will attempt to find a top-pair guy this summer.

Must be easy to be a GM when you don’t to be proactive at all.

Posted by Garth on 03/25/13 at 10:41 PM ET

gt500x's avatar

I have no faith in Holland’s ability to rebuild this team without being able to spend freely.

Posted by gt500x on 03/25/13 at 10:59 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

When will any of those guys play in the NHL?  Because there are guys who are playing in the NHL right now that could help improve the Red Wings right now.

Well, there may be. But Murray isn’t one of them – not at that price. And that’s the point I was making.

You’re talking about generalities (”...there are guys who are playing in the NHL right now that could help…”). Sure there are. And some of them may be worth two second round picks and a lot more. But, again, Murray isn’t one of them.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 03/26/13 at 01:03 AM ET

Avatar

Well, there may be. But Murray isn’t one of them – not at that price. And that’s the point I was making.

I agree.  I didn’t mean to imply that I was specifically addressing Murray.  My point was that the Red Wings have need now and pointing to guys in the pipeline, guys that we don’t even know will eventually pan out, doesn’t address their present needs.

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 01:37 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

My point was that the Red Wings have need now and pointing to guys in the pipeline, guys that we don’t even know will eventually pan out, doesn’t address their present needs.

Well, you were trying to make that point by quoting out of context what I orginially said. You left off the specific situation I was referring to…

...those who think Holland missed the boat by not trading two second rounders for Douglas Murray need to look at the guys who are numbers 7, 8 & 9 on that list…

If you want to make a point of your own, make it on your own. Please don’t misquote me to do it.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 03/26/13 at 03:49 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.