If there was a theme to the season in Liiga in 2015-16 it can best be described by the old adage, “Youth shall be served.”
Much of the attention focused on 17-year-olds Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi — who barring any major surprises will be among the top three players picked in the 2016 NHL Draft. In terms of drafted forward prospects, three of their teammates on the gold medal champion U20 team also had big seasons and could be signing NHL contracts in the near future. Read more»
Though many of the best prospects in the Detroit Red Wings system to start the 2015-16 season have graduated into the NHL, the franchise still has some quality prospects across the system. In particular, the team seems to have invested heavily in the European hockey scene. They have a half-dozen prospects playing abroad right now, led by names like Joren van Pottelberghe and Axel Holmstrom. Though the majority of their top prospects are CHL products, there are a few potential gems hidden across the pond. In addition to those prospects, the Red Wings have taken a chance on a few prospects who will develop at the collegiate level. No one on the list possesses the quality of one-time Michigan Wolverine Dylan Larkin, but there are a few late-round picks that have the talent to develop.
In the past, the Detroit Red Wings found long-term success in partial thanks to a scouting department that unearthed gems like Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk past the draft’s first round. That trend has continued in recent years. Tomas Tatar, a second-round pick in 2009, burst onto the scene in 2014-15 with a 29-goal season while Gustav Nyquist, a fourth-round pick in 2008, posted consecutive seasons of 28 and 27 goals.
The Detroit Red Wings find themselves in a little bit of a different position that we are used to seeing them. Granted, they still consistently find regular season success and make the playoffs in the face of long odds, but the veteran core is finding itself being more and more minimized.
The youth movement in Detroit has already gotten underway, thanks to exciting players like Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. Behind them, there are a plethora of enticing prospects that the Red Wings will be leaning heavily on in the future.
The 2015-16 Liiga season officially begins on Friday with a slate of seven games. Hockey’s Future previewed some of the better clubs heading into the season in part 1 of the Liiga preview, while part 2 will cover the remaining teams that have some work to do to get back amongst the upper tier of the league. Read more»