The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/06/13 at 02:53 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings' best defensive prospects, like Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Mattias Backman and the still-too-skinny Adam Almqvist, are still a few years away from being ready for prime time, but the Red Wings' prospect pipeline is deep and strong in terms of assets in players like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Riley Sheahan (and, down the line, Tomas Jurco, who's having a rough time adjusting to playing against men after dominating against 16-to-20-year-olds; obviously, Petr Mrazek gives the Wings tons of hope in terms of having a "goalie of the future" a year or two away from being ready to challenge Jimmy Howard) and especially the pair of players that the team hopes have some Datsyuk-and-Zetterberg-like potential in Jokerit Helsinki sniper Teemu Pulkkinen and Brynas IF center Calle Jarnkrok.
Over the past two or three seasons, the Wings' brass has insisted that it would allow Pulkkinen and Jarnkrok to remain in Europe until they're ready to begin NHL internships, not AHL ones, and while penning his mid-season ranking of the Top 20 Red Wings Prospects, RedWingsCentral's Matthew Wuest reports that Jarnkrok may make the jump to the NHL next season--if he receives Wings' director of European Scouting and member of the Frolunda Indians' board of directors Hakan Andersson's blessing:
In large part, that will depend on how well he performs at the IIHF world championship in May, assuming he makes Team Sweden.
“We’ll see how he finishes,” said Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson. “We all feel he’s a top-six forward in the long run. He’s a smart player, he works really hard, he’s got good hands, good hockey sense. Adapting to the game, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”
Jarnkrok, compared by the Red Wings to Henrik Zetterberg, tied for 14th in Elite League scoring last season with 39 points in 50 games and helped Brynas win a championship. This season, Brynas has struggled with the losses of several key players, including Jarnkrok’s linemate, Jakob Silfverberg.
The 5-foot-11 174-pounder worked with a personal trainer this summer and got stronger. He leads Brynas in scoring with 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points in 46 games and sits 10th on the league’s points list.
“I feel when I see him, he’s the same kind of player (as last season) and he looks stronger,” Andersson said. “He’s done fine scoring-wise, but the team is struggling and I know that’s very frustrating for him.”
Continued, and while Teemu Pulkkinen's hands may be NHL-level, his ups and downs with Jokerit Helsinki leave him in the 12th spot on Wuest's list...
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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.