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: Anthony Mantha scored 120 points in 2013-14, his final QMJHL season. He was selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
The Fall 2014 edition of the Detroit Red Wings Top 20 contains a few new names, but offensive dynamo Anthony Mantha and unorthodox but effective goaltender Petr Mrazek retain their spots atop the list. Additionally, four players make their first ever appearance in the Top 20.
Photo: Val d’Or winger Anthony Mantha registered 24 goals and 38 points during the QMJHL playoffs, leading the Foreurs to the President’s Cup and a Memorial Cup berth (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
It seemed as though Detroit's much lauded playoff streak would come to an end in 2013-14 until a mid-season influx of young talent bolstered the ranks and reinvigorated a floundering Detroit Red Wings team. Prospects such as Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco were initially called up to fill in for injured NHL players, but they performed at such a high level that they never relinquished their jobs.
Photo: Minnesota defenseman Ben Marshall was part of a deep and talented blue line corps for the Gophers in 2013-14. Minnesota will kick off their NCAA tournament against Robert Morris on Saturday (courtesy of Brad Rempel/Icon SMI)
It may seem like the Detroit Red Wings have an unlimited stockpile of prospects with the way they have been calling up NHL-ready players as injury replacements, but the one area of their pool of prospects that is the thinnest is those playing in Europe or the NCAA.
Photo: Anthony Mantha reached the 50-goal mark in 67 games during his draft year, but he has already equaled that total through 49 games in 2013-14 (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
With the graduation of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Brian Lashoff from the prospects ranks, the Detroit Red Wings have seen the first wave of their youth movement arrive in the NHL. The door has been opened for new prospects to enter the ranks of the Top 20, with Mitch Callahan and Luke Glendening taking full advantage.