Welcome to the January 2014 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various levels of competition who are either exceeding expectations or falling a little behind.
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.
Any team that loses three of its top six defensemen over the course of two seasons is bound to experience some growing pains as the organization looks to reload. While the current Detroit Red Wings roster may feature a blue line in flux, the future looks bright for Detroit's defensive depth. The Red Wings have a number of defensemen in their system that have developed their game a great deal during the 2012-13 season, including some who have already joined the NHL club. Detroit may have fewer forwards playing in the NCAA or Europe than defensemen but that is not an indictment of their quality, as that group features at least two players who appear to be future NHL players.