Red Wings Report: Mid-season Top Prospects Update Part 2

By Zoran Manojlovic

This is the second part of the mid-season Top 20 prospects update.

12. Miroslav Blatak

Position: D
Team: Zlin, CZE
Born: 1982
Height: 6-00
Weight: 178
Draft: 2001 draft, 4th round, 129th overall
Grade: 6
Previous rank: 16

Miroslav is having a very good rookie year with one of the best teams in Czech Republic, Zlin. In the last 20 games of the season Miroslav has received increased ice-time, and that has led to increased offensive numbers. Blatak has 4 goals and 5 assists in 34 games in his rookie season in the Czech Extra League. He also had a great WJC and was the top scoring defenseman with 3 goals and 4 assists in 7 games.

Plus: Smart, skating, shot, passing, hard worker.

Minus: Size?, lack of physical presence.

Potential: Two-way top 6 defenseman

13. Drew MacIntyre

Position: G
Team: Sherbrooke, QJMHL
Born: 1983
Height: 6-01
Weight: 185
Draft: 2001 draft, 4th round, 121st overall
Grade: 6.5
Previous rank: 12

Drew is holding down the fort this year with Sherbrooke of QJMHL. He chose to play in QJMHL because he thought that it would be better for his development if he faced more shots, and this year he certainly is getting plenty of work. In many games he is facing 40+ shots and still holding his team alive. He has had a positive development since the training camp, but he is only 18 years old and it`s still to early to judge him but he looks like a good prospect.

Plus: Good size for a goalie, lightning quick, very confident, work ethic.

Minus: Positional game, “only” solid stickhandler,

Potential: A bit too early to say because of his age, but he is a possible starter.

14. Aaron Van Leusen

Position: RW
Team: Brampton, OHL
Born: 1981
Height: 6-01
Weight: 207
Draft: 2000 draft, 4th round, 130th overall
Grade: 5.5
Previous rank: 14

Aaron is having a tough last year with Brampton of OHL. He has missed many games to injury and he also lost his father last year. But the 20 year old has recovered well and is fighting back. He has solid numbers, just under a point-per-game and is a very important two-way player. He will be in AHL next year.

Plus: SKATING, defensive game, work ethic.

Minus: Scoring touch, stickhandling.

Potential: 3rd , 4th line utility forward

15. Todd Jackson

Position: RW
Team: University of Maine
Born: 1981
Height: 5-11
Weight: 185
Draft: 2000 draft, 8th round, 251st overall
Grade: 5.5
Previous rank: 20

University of Maine sophomore, Todd Jackson is having a strong season. He has developed into a good two-way player on college level. He has been scoring just under a point-per-game and is one of the best forwards on the team. He still has some years in college before attending Red Wings camp and competing for a spot on the team.

Plus: SKATING, speed, scoring touch, passing, work ethic, still several years away.

Minus: Size, defensive game, strength.

Potential: 3rd, 4th liner utility forward

16. Alexander Seluyanov

Position: D
Team: Lada Togliatti, RUS
Born: 1982
Height: 6-01
Weight: 178
Draft: 2000 draft, 4nd round, 128th overall
Grade: 5.5
Previous rank: 12

Seluyanov has had a dazed year in Russia. First he got traded by UFA to Lada Togliatti, than he didn`t manage to take a spot on the team and is now playing for Ladas farm team CSV Samara. He played 6 games with Lada in the Superleague and registered one assist. With Samara he has scored more points and played a solid two-way game. He should come over to North America for the next season.

Plus: Skating, shot, passing, smart, skills, good hands.

Minus: Size, strength, positioning.

Potential: Top 6 defenseman with power play duties.

17. Dmitri Semenov

Position: RW
Team: Dynamo Moscow, RUS
Born: 1982
Height: 5-10
Weight: 178
Draft: 2000 draft, 4nd round, 127th overall
Grade: 5.5
Previous rank: 18

Dmitri started the year pretty well with Dynamo Moscow, but has slowed down and was sent to CSKA to recive more ice-time. Even with CSKA Dmitri has had problems picking up his game. He was also absent from the WJC. Dmitri will probably stay in Russia for several years to develop.

Plus: Skills, stickhandling, passing, good vision, solid scorer.

Minus: Size, strenght, attitude

Potential: Top 2 line scorer or nothing.

18. Nick Pannoni

Position: G
Team: Seatlle, WHL
Born: 1982
Height: 5-11
Weight: 165
Draft: 2001 draft, 6th round, 195th overall
Grade: 5.5
Previous rank: 15

Nick is having a tough year on a poor Seattle team. They had problems already last year even though they had some good players in Jamie Lundmark, Barret Heisten and so on, but this year is even worse. Nick has still done a good job and has a solid save percentage and goals against average. Now that Detroit is having it`s own farm team Nick could find him self in AHL next year because he is born late 82 and that means that he would be an overager in WHL, while Detroit will need a young goalie in AHL for development.

Plus: Good movement, quick, confident, good positional game.

Minus: A bit undersized, overworks the puck.

Potential: The same as with MacIntyre, he is to young to judge but could suprise down the road.

19. Ryan Barnes

Position: LW
Team: Cincinnatti, AHL
Born: 1980
Height: 6-02
Weight: 210
Draft: 1998 draft, 2nd round, 55th overall
Grade: 5
Previous rank: 10

This season Ryan was supposed to break through in the AHL, but he didn`t. He had a good training camp but has failed in the AHL. His offensive numbers are not what the Red Wings expected when thay drafted him 55th overall in the 98 draft. But Ryan has developed into a good fighter and the Red Wings will need players like him in the near future. He will be in AHL for at least another year, but he may get a recall every now and then.

Plus: Attitude, good skater, team player, good fighter, strength, physical presence.

Minus: offensive game, passing, skills, stickhandling.

Potential: 4th line checker, fighter.

20. Tomek Valtonen

Position: LW
Team: Jokerit, FIN
Born: 1980
Height: 6-02
Weight: 210
Draft: 1998 draft, 2nd round, 54th overall
Grade: 5
Previous rank: 19

Tomek has developed into a good forechecker in the Finnish Elite league with Jokerit. He has been playing on the 3rd and 4th lines and has provided physical presense and hard work. He has chipped in offensively but that is not so important becose he will never be a scoring machine. He could and SHOULD come over to North America (again) and play in AHL.

Plus: Very competetive, good forechecker, attitude, strength, good penalty killer.

Minus: Skating, offensive upside, skills.

Potential: 4th line checker and penalty killer

NR. Dmitri Bykov

Position: D
Team: AK Bars Kazan, RUS
Born: 1977
Height: 6-02
Weight: 195
Draft: 2001 draft, 8nd round, 258th overall
Grade: 6
Previous rank: NR

Bykov is having another good year with AK Bars Kazan. Even though he has not produced phenomenal numbers offensively, he has been a rock on the D. He was also present at the All stars game and has been a regular with Russias national team. He will most likely attend Wings camp in Grand Rapids and will try to secure a spot on the team, and that is not impossible.

Plus: Skating, positioning, physical presense, good hitter, hard worker, passing, hockey sense.

Minus: Lack of offensive involvement.

Potential: Top 6 stay-at-home defenseman.

Notes: Dmitri Bykov is not ranked because of his age, but he is a potential NHL-defenseman. He might be there allready by the next season. Why is Yuri Butsayev and Jason Williams not on my top 20 rankings while Sean Avery is? Yuri Butsayev has played to many games in NHL to be considered as a prospect. Jason Williams should and will be on the top 5 very soon. I was hoping to see him in Detroit this year but unfortunately he lost his spot to Russian sensation Pavel Datsyuk, and that is why he has been absent from the rankings. My mistake! Sean Avery has not played enough games in the NHL to graduate as a prospect.
Goalie Jason Eliott is no longer considered as a possible Red Wings goalie, he might play another year in AHL until Stefan Liv arives. Dwight Zinger is a 25 years old minor league depth player and nothing else.