Photo: St. Cloud State defenseman Nick Jensen, the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, helped lead his team to it’s first Frozen Four appearance in school history (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
Any team that loses three of its top six defensemen over the course of two seasons is bound to experience some growing pains as the organization looks to reload. While the current Detroit Red Wings roster may feature a blue line in flux, the future looks bright for Detroit's defensive depth. The Red Wings have a number of defensemen in their system that have developed their game a great deal during the 2012-13 season, including some who have already joined the NHL club. Detroit may have fewer forwards playing in the NCAA or Europe than defensemen but that is not an indictment of their quality, as that group features at least two players who appear to be future NHL players.
Photo: Detroit’s signing of Western Michigan defenseman Dan DeKeyser has improved the team’s breakout and transition game (courtesy of Steven King/Icon SMI)
Below is the middle section of the Hockey's Future Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking.
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: Late first round pick Thomas McCollum has had his struggles in his professional career, but the goalie has lately suited up as Jimmy Howard's back-up in Detroit. (courtesy of Steven King/Icon SMI)
The 2008 NHL Draft was something of a mixed bag for the Detroit Red Wings. While the last three picks are not likely to produce any NHL talent, the most valuable pick may have come in the middle of the draft with fourth round pick Gustav Nyquist.
Photo: Toledo Walleye forward Willie Coetzee, shown here playing in a preseason game for the Detroit Red Wings, is trying to climb back up the ladder in that NHL team's organization (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
Willie Coetzee refuses to use this year’s earlier NHL lockout as an excuse for currently playing for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. There is a reason why the Detroit Red Wings decided to keep the 5'10”, 180-pound forward in the ECHL instead of letting him build off of his 2010 campaign (11 goals, 11 assists) with the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids, MI.