Photo: Detroit Red Wings prospect Tomas Tatar is playing for the Slovakian squad at the 2012 World Championship that upset Canada in the playoff round (courtesy of
Tony Ding/Icon SMI)
Forward Thomas Tatar is no stranger to putting on a big performance for his native Slovakia at international tournaments. He was one of the big stars for an upstart Slovakian team at the 2008 WJC in Canada. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he was right in the middle of things here in Helsinki for Slovakia’s huge quarterfinal victory over Canada.
Photo: A first round pick in 2010, forward Riley Sheahan has recently left Notre Dame and joined the Red Wings AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. Sheahan projects as a strong two-way forward who can contribute timely offense. (Photo courtesy of Zuma Press/Icon SMI)
The Red Wings have 11 prospects playing in Europe and the NCAA, which accounts for just under a third of their total number of prospects. In Europe, forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Teemu Pulkkinen are players who show a lot of potential for the future, especially in terms of the offense they can bring. On the back-end, Adam Almqvist, Mattias Backman, and Alexei Marchenko have all showed signs of being potential NHL defenders one day.
Photo: Defenseman Brendan Smith (Right) has gradually developed into one of the more promising puck-moving defensemen in the AHL. Smith is expected to battle for a spot in the NHL top seven as soon as the 2012-13 season. (Photo courtesy of Tony Ding/Icon SMI)
Despite continually drafting in the bottom 20 of the NHL draft, the Detroit Red Wings have managed to maintain an impressive group of prospects over the years. A number of players have stepped up this season, including Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco, Xavier Ouellet, and Petr Mrazek. With young players becoming increasingly more important in the salary cap era, it is vital that the Red Wings' prospects continue to break-out if the team is to maintain their long reign of success in the NHL.
1. (1) Brendan Smith, D, 8C
Drafted 1st round, 27th overall, 2007
Photo: The Red Wings first round pick of 2007, Brendan Smith has gradually developed into a quality puck-moving defenseman. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
With all the successful drafting the Detroit Red Wings have done over the years, it is easy to forget they have off-years too. The 2007 draft, at least by Red Wings standards, can be considered a bit of a bust. The team only had five selections in the draft, with just two of the players looking as if they will become NHL caliber players.
While the draft lacked the quantity and late-round gems Detroit usually collects, they did select their best defensive prospect in 2007. Brendan Smith was taken 27th overall by the Red Wings in that draft, and remains the top ranked prospect in Detroit's system.
Brendan Smith, D, St. Michael's Buzzers (OPJHL) – 1st round, 27th overall
NHL Games Played: 3
Photo: Mitch Callahan has proved to be an effective checking forward at the AHL level. (Photo courtesy of Holly Gunning/HF)
The Red Wings have 21 players in total playing at the AHL and ECHL level. Three of those players, defender Gleason Fournier, goalie Thomas McCollum and forward Andrej Nestrasil are currently playing for the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.
Joakim Andersson, C, 22