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 summer 2015 edition of the Detroit Red Wings Top 20 prospects only has a few new names. The club has managed to maintain NHL-ready depth along with some elite talents: pretty impressive given that the Red Wings haven’t had the luxury of picking in the top half of the draft in nearly three decades.
Hockey’s Future hands out these awards every season to players who stood out during the course of the season. Several Detroit Red Wings prospects had banner seasons throughout junior, the NCAA and the AHL; others, meanwhile, earned opportunities in Detroit, such as rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek, Teemu Pulkkinen and a group of up-and-coming defensemen.
Boasting one of the deepest, if not the most talented, group of prospects in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings are set up for sustained success. Despite the recent prospect graduations of Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Jurco, the Wings pipeline still features the AHL’s leading scorer, one of college hockey’s most explosive players, as well as an abundance of defensive depth.
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.