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.
Photo: The Detroit Red Wings have several minor league prospects who are likely to crack the NHL lineup out of training camp, including Slovakian winger Tomas Tatar. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The beginning of the 2012-13 AHL season was not kind to the Grand Rapids Griffins. On November 2nd they were 2-4-1-1 and languishing, lacking strong defensive play and goaltending. Enter Petr Mrazek, who ripped off six consecutive wins and seemed to right the ship for the Griffins. As of January 7th, Grand Rapids was 20-10-1-2 and atop the Midwest division.
Photo: Drafted ninth overall in 2010, Finnish Center Mikael Granlund has made his AHL debut this season. Granlund was widely considered one of the best hockey players not playing in North America. (Juan DeLeon/Icon SMI)
Below is the top-10 section of Hockey's Future's NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year.
Photo: Saginaw Spirit goaltender Jake Paterson was one of three Detroit Red Wings junior prospects invited to the upcoming Team Canada selection camp for the WJC. (courtesy of Terry Wilson / OHL Images)
The Detroit Red Wings have a great deal of prospect depth in their organization, but the vast majority of that depth is currently at the professional level. While many of Detroit’s top tier prospects are playing for either the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins or the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, there are still many prospects plying their trade at the junior level.
Photo: Lincoln Stars defenseman and Detroit Red Wings prospect Mike McKee plays a hard-nosed brand of hockey, and is considered to be the toughest player in the USHL (courtesy of Kim Fogle)
Mike McKee is the USHL’s gentle giant.
On the ice he is an animal; he finishes his checks, clears players away from the net and gets into fights.