Darryl Laplante, 58th overall selection in 1995 by Detroit, posted the NHL’s fastest time in the skating portion of the skills competition. He edged out Red Wing forward Sergei Fedorov (13.670 ) and Carolina’s Sami Kapanen (13.716 ) with a time of 13.597. Laplante was one of the last Red Wings to skate and wowed the crowds by edging out 1994 champion Sergei Fedorov who jokingly claimed a clock error and challenged Laplante to a rematch.
The youngster from Calgary gave credit to his mother who forced him to take figure skating lesson from ages 5-12, something that Laplante was a bit shy about admitting. Laplante also turned in a great showing in the agility competition but was finally edged out by Detroit captain Steve Yzerman who gave the rookie a hug following the closely contested skate through the cones.
Laplante was Detroit’s final cut following training camp this fall and was assigned Cincinnati of the AHL. There, Darryl lead the team in goal scoring and following a plethora Detroit injuries, was recalled by the Red Wings in November.
Andrei Maximenko has not been living up to expectations with the Soviet Wings this season. Despite playing on a line with 17 year old phenom Sergei Soin, Andrei has had almost no impact in Russia’s second league this season, with only 5 goals in 30 games.
Ryan Barnes has returned from his 25 game suspension in the OHL. He has 8 points in 11 games with Barrie, and it is hoped he will continue to develop his offensive game.
With Manny Legace in Detroit for most of December, Jason Elliott took over the starters role in Manitoba of the IHL. Despite his tremendous play, Elliott reassumes his backup role now that Legace is back with the Moose.
Henrik Zetterberg, the leader of Sweden’s second line, had a strong WJC. Zetterberg was a +3 and finished with 3 goals and 2 assists in 7 games.
Tomek Valtonen was a -2 and finished with just 1 goal on 14 shots in 7 games for Finland at the WJC. He was benched in the last game.
Aren Miller recorded his second career shutout recently, stopping 34 shots for Cincinnati after missing 9 games with a broken finger. He has stopped 69 of his last 70 shots.
Philippe Audet, after a horrendous start, has 18 points in his last 18 games with Cincinnati of the AHL. Audet averaged around 3 shots per game through December.
Jiri Fischer, who was assigned to Cincinnati on a two-week conditioning stint, has 2 assists, is a -2, and has taken 8 shots in 4 AHL games.
Maxim Kuznetsov, playing with Cincinnati, will miss at least four weeks undergoing knee surgery. Read more»
Not since the early 1990′s have the Detroit Red Wings had a top offensive prospect in their system. With Fedorov, Shanahan, Yzerman, and Larionov all over the age of 30, the only young offensive star on the team is Slava Kozlov. And until the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, the Red Wings had no legitimate offensive prospects in their system, which has been cluttered with big defenseman and role playing forwards.
However, with their selection of Timra’s Henrik Zetterberg at 210th overall in the 1999 draft, the Red Wings appear to be doing their homework. This season, Zetterberg has emerged as one of Sweden’s brightest young offensive stars.
Known as “Z” to Timra followers, Zetterberg was not highly ranked entering the 1999 draft, and his low selection was partly due to his size. At 5’11″ and 180 lbs., many now feel Zetterberg’s size is no longer a concern. The young prospect has tremendous balance and agility, which makes him very difficult to knock off the puck. Zetterberg’s straight ahead speed is only slightly above average, but he possesses great quickness and is very shifty with the puck. He is an intelligent offensive player with good instincts and playmaking ability. Zetterberg also has great hands, and his wrist shot has improved tremendously since his draft year. He plays a spirited game, working very hard, and he is alert defensively. Zetterberg plays a comparable game to current Red Wing Slava Kozlov.
The Detroit Red Wings have been the NHL’s most successful team both during the regular season and in the playoffs during the 1990′s. However, that success has come with a price. The Red Wings have consistently drafted very low in the entry drafts and traded away numerous draft picks in order to continue to win and remain a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup.
While this strategy has worked, the number and quality of young prospects in the Detroit system is at an all time low. The Red Wings are at the bottom of the organization rankings and there is little light at the end of the tunnel. The future may be bleak to say the least in HockeyTown.
Though the Red Wings may be behind, a few rookies have already made an impact on Detroit’s NHL roster. Nineteen year old Jiri Fischer and twenty year old Yuri Butsayev both made the Red Wing’s opening day roster and have stuck with the team beyond the league ten game limit. Each will likely remain in Detroit for the balance of the year.
As for Detroit’s other prospects, while there are few blue-chippers left after the above mentioned, here is where they are and what they are doing this season.
1. Jiri Fischer, D
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Thank you to our correspondent Sarah Lindenau, who is attending camp in Traverse City and continues to provide us with valuable prospect information.
Team B vs. Team D
Final Score: 7-1 for Team B
Team B Notes
Team B features regulars Kozlov, Holmstrom, Maltby and Dandenault.
Team B features prospects Jesse Wallin, Ryan Barnes, John Wikstrom and Jake McCracken.
Scoring: Kozlov (2g, 3a), Rodgers (1g, 3a), Avery (1g, 1a), Holmstrom, Maltby and Harkins.
The top line featured Harkins centering Maltby and Holmstrom.
Sean Avery centered Kozlov and Marc Rodgers.
Wikstrom was again paired with Dandenault on the blue line.
Manny Legace was tremendous, playing aggressively and displaying excellent flexibilty.
Golubovsky worked hard and played well. Despite the occasional lapse, he is definitely in contention with Fischer and Wallin for a regular spot in Detroit.
Avery displayed good skills, aggressiveness, heart, and desire.
Wallin was again impressive and appears to be locking up a roster spot in Detroit.
McCracken redeemed himself in goal somewhat, although he still requires further development.
Team D Notes
Team D features regulars Murphy, Duchesne, Wregget, Draper, Roest and Kocur.
Team D features prospects Philippe Audet, Aren Miller, Jeremy Goetzinger, and contract hopefuls Randy Burridge and Sandy Moger.
Scoring: J.J. Hunter (Duchesne, Murphy)
The top line was Draper centering Burridge and Kocur. Read more»