Leaves are falling and temperatures are dropping, which means the much anticipated return of hockey. While there may be no NHL training camps this September, there are already games being played by many NHL prospects. Below is a rundown of some Red Wings prospects to watch during the upcoming season at each level of the game.
After a first round ousting at the hands of Nashville Predators, the Detroit Red Wings are in the midst of their longest off-season since 2006, and maybe their most important in recent memory. The Red Wings have made the playoffs every year since 1991 and every year since 1992 they've had Nicklas Lidstrom manning their blue line. Certainly one of those streaks is ending in 2012-13, but the Wings certainly have enough in the tank and the pipeline to be a very strong team for the future.
Success in Hockeytown is measured in Stanley Cups, but unfortunately, the Detroit Red Wings and their local affiliates came up well short of their intended goals this past season. The Red Wings made the playoffs but failed to advance past the division rival Nashville Predators in the first round. The AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins missed the playoffs altogether. They won just three of their final 10 games down the stretch and missed the playoffs by nine points. At the ECHL level, the Toledo Walleye posted the third-worst record in the league as they were unable to clinch a postseason berth for the second straight season. It was a disappointing spring for most Red Wings prospects abroad as well, though there were several notable exceptions.