Photo: Anthony Mantha scored 120 points in 2013-14, his final QMJHL season. He was selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
The Fall 2014 edition of the Detroit Red Wings Top 20 contains a few new names, but offensive dynamo Anthony Mantha and unorthodox but effective goaltender Petr Mrazek retain their spots atop the list. Additionally, four players make their first ever appearance in the Top 20.
Photo: Zach Nastasiuk, Detroit’s 48th overall pick in 2013, served as captain for the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack in 2013-14 and then finished the year by making his pro debut with Grand Rapids (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Most organizations choose to either retool through free agency or rebuild through the draft. The Detroit Red Wings, however, chose to take the path least often employed and mixed retooling and rebuilding to continue their 23-year-long playoff streak.
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 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.