The 2015-16 season marked the beginning of a time of transition for the Detroit Red Wings. It saw the graduation of a handful of key prospects, by far the most impactful being teenager Dylan Larkin. Larkin was outstanding as a rookie this season and will be a key building block for the Red Wings as they re-tool for the future.
The long-discussed rebuild in Detroit has yet to come and the Red Wings scouting staff is doing their best to make sure that no such rebuild has to take place.
With recent graduations to the NHL like Teemu Pulkkinen and Dylan Larkin – the latter of whom leads all NHL rookies in goals with 11 – there are still several prospects plying their trade at the AHL level looking to be the next call-up to help keep the Red Wings going.
In the past, the Detroit Red Wings found long-term success in partial thanks to a scouting department that unearthed gems like Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk past the draft’s first round. That trend has continued in recent years. Tomas Tatar, a second-round pick in 2009, burst onto the scene in 2014-15 with a 29-goal season while Gustav Nyquist, a fourth-round pick in 2008, posted consecutive seasons of 28 and 27 goals.
The summer 2015 edition of the Detroit Red Wings Top 20 prospects only has a few new names. The club has managed to maintain NHL-ready depth along with some elite talents: pretty impressive given that the Red Wings haven’t had the luxury of picking in the top half of the draft in nearly three decades.