Photo: Guelph Storm forward and Detroit Red Wings prospect Tyler Bertuzzi is the nephew of former Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi (Courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Detroit Red Wings have seven prospects playing junior hockey this season. While none are high-profile first round selections, the group is characterized by intrigue and potential.
Photo: Riley Sheahan’s two-way play has earned him a spot in Detroit’s bottom-six forwards for the 2014-15 season (courtesy of Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire)
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.
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: Tyler Bertuzzi, a second round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, has already set a new career-best with 32 points this season for the Guelph Storm (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
While it may seem as though all of their prospects have moved up to the professional level, there are still quite a few bright spots among the Detroit Red Wings prospects playing junior hockey.
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.