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: Selected 37th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings, forward Valentin Zykov had a solid 2013-14 season in the QMJHL, posting 23 goals and 40 assists in 53 games. (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
As with every Top 50 ranking, difficult decisions had to be made towards the bottom section, and players were left out for a variety of reasons.
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.
Photo: Tomas Jurco, playing in his second professional season, earned his first call-up to the NHL on December 15th (courtesy of Tony Ding/Icon SMI)
The drive from Grand Rapids to Detroit is rather unremarkable. Flat land and clusters of trees pockmark the edge of the highway.
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.