Below is the final part of Hockey's Future's 2012 Spring Organizational Rankings. The rankings were determined by taking each NHL team's entire prospect pool into consideration as well as the likelihood those prospects are to meet their maximum potential. For reference, each team's top five prospects are included, as well as the players they have graduated, traded, or added to their pool over the 2011-12 season. To be eligible, a player must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice each season, in the fall and spring.
Team Depth Chart of NHL Prospects
- Versatile forwards.
- Most defenders possess good mobility.
- Goaltending depth suspect.
- Lack of sizable forwards.
Legend of Players' Leagues
- Playing in N.A. Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL, etc.)
- Playing in CHL (OHL, QMJHL, WHL)
- Playing in NCAA
- Playing in Europe
- Playing in Junior 'A' (USHL, BCHL, AJHL, etc.)
- Not Categorized Yet
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.
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.
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
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.