Photo: Rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek has made a great first impression at the pro level, taking the reins in AHL Grand Rapids and even earning a call-up to Detroit (courtesy of Brad Rempel/Icon SMI)
Spring is just around the corner, and as the weather heats up so too does the on-ice action in leagues around the world. As we reach the end of the season in junior hockey and the stretch run in professional hockey we pause to look back at how prospects in the Detroit Red Wings organization have progressed since the puck first dropped last fall.
Photo: Blainville-Boisbriand Aramada defenseman and Detroit Red Wings prospect Xavier Ouellet has had a memorable 2012-13 season, likely his final QMJHL season before turning pro (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The QMJHL may not be traditionally viewed as a fertile development ground for defensemen. But recent history has proved the opposite, with the league producing NHL talent such as Florida's Dmitri Kulikov and Pittsburgh's Kris Letang as well as top prospects like Montreal's Nathan Beaulieu and Phoenix's Brandon Gormley.
Photo: Saginaw Spirit goaltender Jake Paterson was one of three Detroit Red Wings junior prospects invited to the upcoming Team Canada selection camp for the WJC. (courtesy of Terry Wilson / OHL Images)
The Detroit Red Wings have a great deal of prospect depth in their organization, but the vast majority of that depth is currently at the professional level. While many of Detroit’s top tier prospects are playing for either the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins or the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, there are still many prospects plying their trade at the junior level.
Photo: Swedish forward Calle Jarnkrok, currently playing with Brynas in the SEL, is the cream of the crop at center for the Detroit Red Wings prospect pool. (courtesy of Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
A paradigm shift occurred for the Detroit Red Wings after the 2004-05 NHL lockout. Gone were the days where Detroit would readily hand out early-round draft picks in exchange for veteran NHL talent. Instead, Detroit decided that they would need to hold on to their draft choices in order to build a prospect pool with skill and size that would help them compete in the new-look NHL.
Photo: Halifax Mooseheads forward and 2013 NHL Draft prospect Jonathan Drouin is scoring at a more than two-points-per-game pace so far in the 2012-13 season (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Xavier Ouellet, Jonathan Drouin and Anthony Mantha were named today, the TELUS three stars of the week for October 22nd to October 28, 2012.