Photo: The Detroit Red Wings have several minor league prospects who are likely to crack the NHL lineup out of training camp, including Slovakian winger Tomas Tatar. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The beginning of the 2012-13 AHL season was not kind to the Grand Rapids Griffins. On November 2nd they were 2-4-1-1 and languishing, lacking strong defensive play and goaltending. Enter Petr Mrazek, who ripped off six consecutive wins and seemed to right the ship for the Griffins. As of January 7th, Grand Rapids was 20-10-1-2 and atop the Midwest division.
Photo: Swedish forward Calle Jarnkrok, currently playing with Brynas in the SEL, is the cream of the crop at center for the Detroit Red Wings prospect pool. (courtesy of Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
A paradigm shift occurred for the Detroit Red Wings after the 2004-05 NHL lockout. Gone were the days where Detroit would readily hand out early-round draft picks in exchange for veteran NHL talent. Instead, Detroit decided that they would need to hold on to their draft choices in order to build a prospect pool with skill and size that would help them compete in the new-look NHL.
Photo: Chris Kreider's mix of blazing speed, a formidable frame, and outstanding hockey sense rank him among the top forward prospects in the NHL. (courtesy of Will Schneekloth/Icon SMI)
Winger Chris Kreider, already coming off a NCAA National Championship with Boston College, put on a show in 18 playoff games for the New York Rangers. The lockout will keep him from making an immediate impact for the Rangers in 2012-13, but like defensemen Brendan Smith and Brandon Gormley behind him, Kreider should benefit from significant ice time in the AHL rather than the pressure of making an immediate impact in the NHL.
Following a successful rookie campaign last year, Gustav Nyquist is ready for full-time duty with the Red Wings in 2012-13. (courtesy of Steven King/Icon SMI)
Leaves are falling and temperatures are dropping, which means the much anticipated return of hockey. While there may be no NHL training camps this September, there are already games being played by many NHL prospects. Below is a rundown of some Red Wings prospects to watch during the upcoming season at each level of the game.
Photo: Defenseman Brendan Smith has been developing steadily in the AHL and may now be ready for full-time NHL duty with the Detroit Red Wings (courtesy of Rocky Widner/Getty Images)
After an offseason of unprecedented change, the Detroit Red Wings' prospects will be relied upon more than they have been in over a decade to have an impact at the NHL level.