Photo: Andreas Athanasiou led the Barrie Colts in goals (49) and points (95) during his fourth season of junior hockey in the OHL (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The Detroit Red Wings have already graduated their first true wave of prospects in a number of years to the NHL, and there is a second wave that may be following quickly at their heels.
Photo: Anthony Mantha reached the 50-goal mark in 67 games during his draft year, but he has already equaled that total through 49 games in 2013-14 (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
With the graduation of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Brian Lashoff from the prospects ranks, the Detroit Red Wings have seen the first wave of their youth movement arrive in the NHL. The door has been opened for new prospects to enter the ranks of the Top 20, with Mitch Callahan and Luke Glendening taking full advantage.
Photo: Tomas Tatar finally broke into the Red Wings roster for good in 2013-14, including an appearance in the NHL Winter Classic in Detroit (courtesy of Steven King/Icon SMI)
The old axiom says, "to the victor go the spoils," but that is not always the case. The Detroit Red Wings lost a heart-wrenching Game 7 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on home ice in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, but the organization suffered no Cup hangover (or in this case near-Cup hangover) when it came to the 2009 NHL Draft.
Photo: Tomas Jurco, playing in his second professional season, earned his first call-up to the NHL on December 15th (courtesy of Tony Ding/Icon SMI)
The drive from Grand Rapids to Detroit is rather unremarkable. Flat land and clusters of trees pockmark the edge of the highway.
Photo: Calle Jarnkrok, playing in his first AHL season out of Sweden, joined a deep and talented pool of forwards developing with Detroit’s AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
It has been a gradual change, but most things associated with the Detroit Red Wings work that way. In a salary-cap constrained hockey landscape, Detroit can no longer simply outspend other franchises; Detroit knew this eight seasons ago and began to stockpile talent through the NHL Draft.