It has been a gradual change, but the draft picks that have been laying in wait for the Detroit Red Wings have started to make their impact on the team’s NHL roster. As some graduate to the NHL others have filled their spots in the AHL, leaving Detroit’s system very top-heavy with prospects playing professionally.
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.
Procuring talent has not been difficult for the Detroit Red Wings over the past two decades, but the way in which they acquire their talent has certainly changed. A prospect pipeline that was once virtually dry is now overflowing with talented players ready to make their mark in the hockey world.
The Detroit Red Wings entered the 2013 NHL Draft with the 18th overall selection, their earliest first round pick since the beginning of the 1990s. This understandably led to high expectations in the Motor City and the Red Wings did not disappoint, dealing their first round pick to San Jose for the 20th and 58th overall picks. Detroit then wasted no time in selecting the draft's lone 50 goal-scorer in Anthony Mantha before bolstering the system with gritty, skilled two-way forwards and hulking defensemen.