Photo: Detroit’s 21st overall pick in 2010, used to select Riley Sheahan, was the team’s only first round draft choice in the past four years (courtesy of Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Detroit Red Wings 2013 NHL Draft position should pique the interest of even the most jaded Wings fan. Detroit holds the 18th overall selection, their highest pick since the organization took Martin Lapointe with the 10th overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. Considering that the Red Wings did not have a first round selection in the 2009, 2011, and 2012 NHL Drafts, having the 18th overall pick in a year that features what is generally considered to be a very deep draft class is cause for excitement.
Photo: Center Joakim Andersson was a steady presence for the Red Wings during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and has since rejoined Grand Rapids in the Calder Cup Finals (courtesy of Tony Ding/Icon SMI)
Playoff success may be the Detroit Red Wings' calling card, but this season it was not just the NHL club that experienced an extended postseason run. The Red Wings took the Chicago Blackhaws to seven games before bowing out in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and this may have been a blessing in disguise for Detroit. A number of players were able to be sent down to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins, who are having the most notable playoff run in the organization; they are currently battling the Syracuse Crunch for the Calder Cup and hold a 2-0 series advantage after a pair of road victories to begin the series. Red Wings prospects also had significant success in the NCAA Tournament and the Mastercard Memorial Cup tournament.
Photo: Defenseman Jonas Brodin has been impressive for the Minnesota Wild. The 19-year-old Swede leads all rookies in average ice time. (courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
Many of the players in the middle section of the Hockey's Future 2013 Spring ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects have experienced excellent growth over the past season and have risen in the ranks as a result. Among the most notable is Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin, who has played well for the Wild in a shutdown role alongside Ryan Suter.
Photo: Rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek has made a great first impression at the pro level, taking the reins in AHL Grand Rapids and even earning a call-up to Detroit (courtesy of Brad Rempel/Icon SMI)
Spring is just around the corner, and as the weather heats up so too does the on-ice action in leagues around the world. As we reach the end of the season in junior hockey and the stretch run in professional hockey we pause to look back at how prospects in the Detroit Red Wings organization have progressed since the puck first dropped last fall.
Photo: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko got off to an impressive start in his NHL career, making him an easy choice as the NHL's top rookie for January (courtesy of Scott Kane/Icon SMI)
Due to the NHL lockout, January was an abbreviated month, with most teams playing just over half a dozen games. Nonetheless, the Hockey’s Future staff was polled to give their early thoughts on the front-runners for the league's Calder Trophy, which recognizes the NHL's top rookie.