Red Wings 2009-10 junior prospects update

By Brandon Peleshok

The Red Wings have nine prospects at the junior level – four in the WHL, two in the QMJHL, two in the OHL, and one in the USHL. Six of the prospects are forwards, three are defensemen.

WHL

Landon Ferraro, C – Red Deer Rebels
Acquired: 2nd round, 32nd overall, 2009
6’0, 170 lbs.

Ferraro had a rough start to the 2009-10 season. A knee injury caused him to miss nearly a dozen games early on, and affected his ability to put the puck in the net. Since returning, he has just 11 points in 17 games, a bit disappointing for what he was projected to put up statistically. But he still remains one of the better goal scorers on the Red Wings depth chart after putting up 37 goals just a season ago.

His most obvious asset is his blazing speed. Combined with a good set of hands, a nose for the net and a good work ethic, Ferraro looks to be the whole package offensively. He will have to bounce back from the injury and add some muscle in the future.

Willie Coetzee, RW – Red Deer Rebels
Acquired: Undrafted, Signed as a free agent in 2009
5’10, 180 lbs.

Coetzee has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Wings. After the Wings took his fellow teammate Ferraro in the 2009 draft, they invited Coetzee, now 19, to camp where he earned himself a contract and was sent back to Red Deer. Since then, he has gone on an offensive tear that has placed him in the top 10 players in the WHL. Even with Ferraro’s absence, Coetzee has been able to put up 39 points in 27 games, three points shy of his 2008-09 season total.

His playmaking skills and hands are Coetzee’s best assets. While he spent the 2008-09 season on a line with Ferraro, he has shown this year that he is a skilled player regardless of who he plays with.

Brent Raedeke, C – Edmonton Oil Kings
Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2008
6’0, 197 lbs.

Raedeke has been a bright spot on an otherwise disappointing season for the Oil Kings thus far. His speed and tenacity have allowed him to lead the team in scoring. The 19-year-old has put up 14 goals and 13 assists in the span of 29 games. It is a boost in production that may prove Raedeke to be good enough as a third or fourth liner in the future.

His best assets are his speed and work ethic. Raedeke’s ability to push himself and the play could end up allowing him to mold into a Kris Draper type player.

Mitchell Callahan, RW – Kelowna Rockets
Acquired: 6th round, 180th overall, 2009
5’11, 175 lbs.

Callahan is a scrappy player who could turn out to be the pest on the team. He possesses some offensive skill at the junior level, and is willing to hit anything that moves. In 28 games with Kelowna, he has 17 points and 65 penalty minutes. While Callahan could end up as a fourth-line winger, he will have to improve his defensive player and work on getting stronger and faster.

QMJHL

Andrej Nestrasil, RW – Victoriaville Tigres
Acquired: 3rd round, 75th overall, 2009
6’2, 200 lbs.

Nestrasil is proving to be a force for the Victoriaville Tigres. In 26 games with the team, he has put up 10 goals and 20 assists. Using his size and soft hands, he possesses the vision and skill to end up being a playmaker at the NHL level. He is also willing to participate in the physical aspects of the game, and willingly throws his body around the ice.

One issue with Nestrasil remains his skating. His hands and vision will take Nestrasil so far, but his skating ability will have to improve if he wants to become a top-six forward on any team.

Gleason Fournier, D – Rimouski Oceanic
Acquired: 3rd round, 90th overall, 2009
6’0, 176 lbs.

Fournier is a player the Red Wings decided to take a chance on, mostly because of the blazing speed he possesses. He has steadily progressed offensively each year of his career as a Rimouski Oceanic player, and has so far shown exactly why Detroit drafted him. In 19 games with the Oceanic, Fournier has put up 16 points, good for second among Rimouski defensemen.

Skating, by far, is Fournier’s greatest asset. That’s not to say the rest of his game isn’t up to par, but that his speed is excellent. His end-to-end rushes provide an offensive spark, but he is very lean, which causes defensive issues.

OHL

Brian Lashoff, D – Kingston Frontenacs
Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2008
6’3, 190 lbs.

Lashoff was traded to Kingston last December and was immediately named the team captain. This season, Lashoff’s play has been rather average. Over 28 games, the 19-year-old has just 11 points. He doesn’t get as much power-play time as he used to, with the blossoming of Erik Gudbranson.

Perhaps Lashoff’s strongest asset is that he’s good at everything, but not necessarily great. He has been gearing more toward developing his defensive game, and could turn out to be a decent stay-at-home defender in the long run. He is +1 on the year, which is about average on the team.

Stephen Johnston, LW – Belleville Bulls
Acquired: 6th round, 181st overall, 2008
6’1, 175 lbs.

Johnston must be signed by June in order to remain the property of the Red Wings. Injuries and uninspired play have plagued him, though, as he has only been able to participate in 18 games this season. While the 10 points that he has put up are respectable, it may simply not be enough to earn a contract. His skating is his best asset, and one he will have to utilize if he hopes to make the necessary offensive leap that he needs to.

USHL

Nick Jensen, D – Green Bay Gamblers
Acquired: 5th round, 150th overall, 2009
6’1, 189 lbs.

Bound for St. Cloud State, Jensen is considered a long-term prospect. In his second year as a member of the Green Bay Gamblers, he has produced five assists and a +3 rating over 13 games. He has also shown himself to be a very disciplined player, with only four penalty minutes on the year. Jensen projects as an offensive defenseman, with his speed and puck-moving ability as his best assets. Though, like most junior defenders, he’ll have to get stronger and add on some weight.