Red Wings Report: NHL and AHL “youngsters”
I have had some questions about why I`m not mentioning players like Jason Williams, Yuri Butsayev and so on in my articles. Therefore, here is an update on “all youngsters” who are playing with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks and Detroit Red Wings.
Name: Jiri Fischer
NHL Stats: 65 games 1 goals 7 assists 8 points 61 pim
Czech giant defenseman Jiri Fischer is improving and getting more ice time for every game that passes. He is playing great right now, logging on a bit over 20 minutes a game while playing a strong defensive game. He has been a regular on the second penalty killing unit all year long which has helped his development. The only minus is that he is not putting up offensive numbers, mainly due to the lack of PP time. I think that Mr. Bowman should give this kid some PP time to develop his offensive game and become more of a two-way defenseman.
Future: Jiri Fischer has a bright future ahead of him in Detroit. If he continues to develop at this pace he should become the best defenseman and the corner stone on the team in 4-5 years. With some PP time he could be a very good two-way defenseman in the NHL.
Name: Pavel Datsyuk
NHL Stats: 60 games 11 goals 20 assists 31 points 2 pim
First year center Pavel Datsyuk has been a positive surprise so far into the season. He started with a great training camp where he secured himself a spot on the team. It took him a few games to adjust to the North American style and the smaller rinks but now after playing 60 games he has become more confident and is getting more ice-time for every game that passes. He has displayed great skill and hockey sense all year long while picking up solid numbers for a freshman in the NHL. Datsyuk has been playing with future Hall of Famer, Brett Hull and Winger Boyd Devereaux and they have displayed great chemistry and been the best line in Detroit this year.
Future: After a very good rookie season it looks like Pavel will stay in Detroit for a long time. He has adjusted well to the North American style and doasn`t seem to have problems with big defensemen and the smaller ice surface. With his phenomenal skills and sense for the game he shouldn`t have any problems to center the 2nd line for Detroit.
Name: Boyd Devereaux
Position: C / W
NHL Stats: 65 games 8 goals 15 assists 23 points 18 pim
After the last season many were questioning the signing of Boyd Devereaux. He had problems with the new system and had limited ice-time. But this year he has turned those and many other heads around with his solid two-way play. He has been playing on a line with another young gun, Pavel Datsyuk and the one and only Brett Hull. They have been very successfull thanks to the speed that they provide. Boyd is a tireless worker with speed and grit, but he is not only a good checker, he also has a solid offensive upside too. This season looks to be the best in his 5 year long NHL career.
Future: Boyd is on the right track to a succesfull NHL career. Many questioned his health, but he has shown that he can play a full season without any problems what so ever. He has developed into a solid two-way forward, but I think that there is more to come. Boyd is still young and progressing, but I think that he will need some ice-time on the PP and PK units to keep developing. If he does so he could be a dependable two-way 2nd liner.
Name: Jesse Wallin
NHL Stats: 13 games 0 goals 1 assists 1 points 13 pim
AHL Stats: 5 games 1 goals 1 assists 2 points 2 pim
Rookie defenseman Jesse Wallin, who started the season with very good training camp but unfortunately (or fortunately) missed the first half of the year is now back on track. He has been rock solid since returning after his injury, logging around 9 minutes a game while playing a simple defensive game. It finaly looks like the Red Wings staff has discovered that Jesse is a solid defenseman who deserves a spot on the team.
Future: Even though he is playing well right now it doesn`t mean that he will stay in Detroit. The trading deadline is closing in and the Red Wings are in the hunt for a veteran defenseman, and if they find one, Jesse will most likely be part of the trade.
Jesse plays a smart and safe stay-at-home game and could develop into a top 5 defensman with regular penalty kill ice-time.
Name: Maxim Kuznetsov
NHL Stats: 26 games 1 goals 2 assists 3 points 28 pim
AHL Stats: 7 games 1 goals 0 assists 1 points 2 pim
Is this guy ever going to get a real shot? Max has once again failed to play one whole year in the NHL although Scotty Bowman praised the now 25 year old defensman after the last season. He has played only 26 games this season and that is one more than last year, but is that the best he can provide? Max has great size and strength but the problem is that he is not using it to his advantage. He seems to have a problem with the high NHL tempo.
Future: He could be gone very soon from the Detroit organisation as the trading deadline nears. Detroit is looking to add an veteran defensman and I think that they are willing to give up Kuznetsov to do so. No matter if he stays or not he could be a top 6 defenseman in the future.
Name: Sean Avery
NHL Stats: 23 games 2 goals 2 assists 4 points 53 pim
AHL Stats: 36 games 14 goals 7 assists 21 points 106 pim
Sean has had a very good season starting at the training camp back in september where he showed that he can agitate in the NHL. Since the Red Wings have a Hall of Fame lineup, Sean ended up in the AHL. But Sean didn`t seem to be to much upset about the demotion, he more of took it and ran with it. He has had his best season in his young career and was recalled to the Big Club when the team needed an agitator who can stir it up. He has played 23 games while scoring 2 goals and 2 assists and pilling up 53 penalty minutes in the NHL. Sean could be a very important role player in the playoffs which are nearing fast. He is young and has a great attitude with which he gives the team many power play opportunities, and those are very important in the playoffs.
Future: Detroit will have most of the veteran players at least for another season and that could mean trouble for Sean although I believe that he has secured himself a spot in the NHL. He is a great attitude player and will be a part of this team for along time.
Name: Jason Williams
Position: C / RW
NHL Stats: 14 games 2 goal 2 assists 4 points 4 pim
AHL Stats: 52 games 23 goals 27 assists 50 points 27 pim
The 21 year old London, Ontario native is having a great season in the AHL with Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. Last season he came from nowhere to the Detroit Red Wings training camp and stunned everybody with his great play. He was suposed to be with Detroit this year but once again got caught by the numbers and was sent down to AHL. But Williams didn`t despair. On the contrary he has been great from the first game in Cincinnati and has become an leader on the team. His two-way game is even better than last year and his points have also increased.
Future: Even though he is having another great season in the AHL, it`s not a guarantee that he will be playing in the NHL next season. The reason is that the Red Wings have planty of veterans on the top three lines and there is no purpose to have a player who is a top three liner grinding 5-8 minutes on the forth line. But that is not the only adversary he needs to beat. Olympian Henrik Zetterberg will most likely sign a contract and play with the Red Wings next year while Red Wings. They will only need one forward replacement for Igor Larionov and that is where Zetterberg comes into the picture. Williams will most likely spend another year in the AHL and that is very unfortunate because he is worth a spot in the NHL, but his time will come as soon as the Red Wings lose players like Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille.
Name: Yuri Butsayev
NHL Stats: 3 games 0 goals 0 assists 0 points 0 pim
AHL Stats: 57 games 20 goals 23 assists 43 points 42 pim
Yuri`s time seems to be running out with Detroit. He once again failed to make the team and was demoted to the AHL for another year of schooling. He had a good season in the AHL where he was an All star and developed his offensive game. He came to the camp with high hopes of making the team but only to see Pavel Datsyuk beat him. His season in the AHL has been (once again) solid. He has racked up solid offensive numbers and provided leadership to the team.
Future: Yuri’s future is very uncertain, he could be dealt as soon as by the next week at the trading deadline. But if he is not he will still have problems with making the team next year as the Red Wings will have a similar lineup to this years. Butsayev`s production has been rising every year but unfortunately it`s been in the AHL and not in the NHL, and the only position he could play in the NHL is the 4th line grinder.
Name: Ryan Barnes
AHL Stats: 45 games 2 goals 3 assists 5 points 150 pim
Ryan is another dissapointment this year. He was a second round pick in the 98 draft and predicted a bright future in the NHL as a scoring power forward. But 4 years later he is only a power forward without much scoring. He had a tough season last year with injuries and was supposed to take his game to the next level this year but failed to do so.
Future: Ryan is a solid skater with good size and attitide, but his best asset is his fighting. And that`s the only way that he can make it to the NHL, as a fighter. And that could take a few years down the road.