The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/25/13 at 03:54 PM ET
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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About The Malik Report
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.