Photo: The MVP of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs, Tomas Tatar has his sights set on sticking in the NHL for the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Procuring talent has not been difficult for the Detroit Red Wings over the past two decades, but the way in which they acquire their talent has certainly changed. A prospect pipeline that was once virtually dry is now overflowing with talented players ready to make their mark in the hockey world.
Photo: Gustav Nyquist is poised for full-time duty in Detroit after strong playoff runs in both the NHL and in Grand Rapids, which won the 2013 Calder Cup (courtesy of Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
They are not prominent, but if you pay close attention the signs are all there. Cars left out overnight have dew on the windows, a few leaves are scattered beneath certain trees, and school supplies are pushed to the front of most stores; Fall is just around the corner. With Fall comes another hockey season, this time for every level of hockey (NHL included).
Photo: The Red Wings traded down from 18th to 20th overall and still added a talented goal-scorer to the coffers in Val-d’Or winger Anthony Mantha (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)
The Detroit Red Wings entered the 2013 NHL Draft with the 18th overall selection, their earliest first round pick since the beginning of the 1990s. This understandably led to high expectations in the Motor City and the Red Wings did not disappoint, dealing their first round pick to San Jose for the 20th and 58th overall picks. Detroit then wasted no time in selecting the draft's lone 50 goal-scorer in Anthony Mantha before bolstering the system with gritty, skilled two-way forwards and hulking defensemen.
Photo: Detroit’s 21st overall pick in 2010, used to select Riley Sheahan, was the team’s only first round draft choice in the past four years (courtesy of Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Detroit Red Wings 2013 NHL Draft position should pique the interest of even the most jaded Wings fan. Detroit holds the 18th overall selection, their highest pick since the organization took Martin Lapointe with the 10th overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. Considering that the Red Wings did not have a first round selection in the 2009, 2011, and 2012 NHL Drafts, having the 18th overall pick in a year that features what is generally considered to be a very deep draft class is cause for excitement.
Photo: Center Joakim Andersson was a steady presence for the Red Wings during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and has since rejoined Grand Rapids in the Calder Cup Finals (courtesy of Tony Ding/Icon SMI)
Playoff success may be the Detroit Red Wings' calling card, but this season it was not just the NHL club that experienced an extended postseason run. The Red Wings took the Chicago Blackhaws to seven games before bowing out in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and this may have been a blessing in disguise for Detroit. A number of players were able to be sent down to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins, who are having the most notable playoff run in the organization; they are currently battling the Syracuse Crunch for the Calder Cup and hold a 2-0 series advantage after a pair of road victories to begin the series. Red Wings prospects also had significant success in the NCAA Tournament and the Mastercard Memorial Cup tournament.