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Three Red Wings among ESPN’s top 50 NHL prospects

ESPN's Cory Pronman posited a list of his top 50 NHL prospects for this season in an Insider-only entry, and three Red Wings prospects made the cut (though they made the "middle"):

28. Tomas Jurco, RW, Detroit Red Wings
DOB: 12/28/92 | Age: 21
2013-14 stats (Grand Rapids, AHL):
32 GP, 13 G, 19 A, 32 P
Preseason ranking: unranked

Jurco has been great in his second AHL campaign, earning a brief call-up to the Wings earlier this season. He's a sensational puck handler who can make a ton of plays in the offensive end of the rink. Jurco needed time to adjust to the QMJHL level before he elevated his game, and after a bumpy first pro AHL season he looks to be turning the corner again.

25. Anthony Mantha, LW, Detroit Red Wings
DOB: 9/16/94 | Age: 19
2013-14 stats (Val-d'Or, QMJHL)
: 32 GP, 35 G, 38 A, 73 P
Preseason ranking: 86

Mantha has become a big name in the prospect world this season, due to the way he's been tearing up the QMJHL and his great performance at the WJC (11 points in seven games). He's a toolsy forward, as he's big with great speed and can impress with his possession skills or finishing ability. He has to improve his play in the defensive end, as well being a little tougher in battles.


24. Calle Jarnkrok, C, Detroit Red Wings
DOB: 9/25/91 | Age: 22
2013-14 stats (Grand Rapids, AHL)
: 38 GP, 10 G, 6 A, 16 P
Preseason ranking: 35

Jarnkrok has been just fine in his first AHL season, and I expected more of him given his age and talent. This high ranking is based on hope of greater things to come based on his great hockey sense and creation skills, on top of good things I've continuously heard from scouts over the years. The lack of physical development is concerning.

Pronman continues, but the rest of the article's locked behind a paywall.

If my stupid scrambled brain will let me, I'll try to get a Prospect Catch-Up Post of Doom together, but I can't promise anything right now :/

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alwaysaurie's avatar

16pts in 38 games doesn’t sound “just fine,” it sounds more like “need(ing) time to adjust,” the way you described Jurco’s ‘12-‘13 season.

I’ve heard great things about Jurco and Jarnkrok, but haven’t seen much of either, so my hopes are still high. Mantha I’ve seen a bit of and I hope to see him play with the Wings’ “a little” next year and then be with the team in fall of ‘15 if he can play responsible defensively by then.

Does this article by Pronman not include goalies or does he not think Mrazek is unworthy of the top-50?

Posted by alwaysaurie on 01/16/14 at 07:01 PM ET


How soon before Pulkkinen cracks the list? And I am surprised Mrazek didn’t get on there.

The point about Jurco being able to adjust to the Q and then the same in the AHL is the most telling and exciting reason to believe he will be able to be very effective in the NHL - I think he is programmed well.

Jurco seems to stall when he jumps a level and then he is able to process and or work on getting over the hump - then he does it. In January 2012 - one year ago - halfway through his first AHL season, he was looking to have a much better second half. By the time the Griffins got to the big stage in the playoffs, he was one of the best players. I just remember last year when there were questions whether he could translate the flashy skating and stickhandling into an NHL career. If you asked IF Jurco could play in the NHL as of January last year, you’d think he had a long way to go.

The ability to jump a level, struggle, and then figure it out and excel (in a relatively short time) is a huge deal. He has a ton of tools. Glad to see my assessment of him reinforced by a national writer.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 01/16/14 at 07:07 PM ET



Is Pulkkinen that impressive? I haven’t seen anything of him and his offensive production doesn’t appear that impressive. I thought he was supposed to be a weak skater and not a great creator, just a finisher. Are you able to watch the Griffins games and what are your thoughts on his development?

Posted by teldar on 01/16/14 at 07:17 PM ET


I’ve watched every Griffins game either in person or online this year, and in my opinion, Pulkinnen has been good on the pk, and offensively has a really powerful shot.  He doesn’t look pretty when he skates, and he is not a very big guy, but he doesn’t make mistakes typically. Jarnkrok is a real go-getter but doesn’t necessarily make a huge impact each game he plays. I would imagine Pulkinnen being ready for the NHL before Jarnkrok.

Posted by griffinsfan on 01/16/14 at 09:50 PM ET


teldar - I don’t get a chance to watch them too often but I watch and read as much as I can. I have been debating whether to buy the AHL Live package to watch the Griffins games. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

Anyways, he’s a unique player. He’s got a great shot and it is quick. I’d imagine the staff in GR is working with him on his skating. He’s also a pretty smart player.

I haven’t seen enough to know how he is without the puck. I’d love to see him develop that ability to find an open two feet on the ice - something like a Shanahan or Hull type - a guy who can get to an open spot and the next thing the puck is in the net.

Obviously, he’s not going to be as good as Hull or Shanahan (not even the same build as Shanny) but that’s the kind of guy I could see him becoming - the finisher.

It remains to be seen if he will get skated circles around in the NHL or if he can outsmart that weakness and/or develop into a better skater.

In terms of Jarnkrok, I can’t comment too much on him. I know he’s a really heady playmaker but isn’t ready for the NHL yet. He needs to add some weight and strength and get over a couple hurdles in the AHL yet. He’s going to track similarly to Jurco - gets to a new level, plays well but not spectacular. Jarnkrok doesn’t dominate the games yet. This year’s playoffs will be interesting for Jarnkrok - I hope he breaks out like Jurco did last year.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 01/17/14 at 10:30 AM ET


Pronman doesn’t know jack and I feel a little sorry for people who pay for his nonsense.

Posted by Captain Bob on 01/17/14 at 10:21 PM ET


Pronman doesn’t know jack and I feel a little sorry for people who pay for his nonsense.

Concur.  There’s literally nobody alive I trust to be able to put together a comprehensive list of prospects and have any kind of expertise about even half of it.  There are too many players in too many leagues for too many teams for someone to be able to present sufficient knowledge without either just cribbing the whole thing or making half of it up to save time.

Generally speaking, in these lists being younger is almost always given a priority over being a year or two older and further along in the actual development process, which makes them a little silly.

For example, there’s not a lot of ‘potential’ difference between Mantha now and Ferraro at the same time, but since Ferraro’s gone on to be just decent at the AHL level he’s a ‘lesser’ prospect to the listmakers than Mantha, who hasn’t even had the chance to succeed or fail yet.  Mantha’s just as likely to stall as Ferraro was.

So it goes with prospect lists.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/18/14 at 01:29 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.