Detroit Red Wings Prospects Graduates

By Zoran Manojlovic

This year Detroit was one of the oldest teams in the NHL with players such as Igor Larionov (40), Chris Chelios (38), Larry Murphy (39), Pat Verbeek (36) and so on. Next season some of those and other older players will not be back, and that means that Detroit will give some youngsters a chance to show up in the NHL.

But unfortunately Detroit will still have some players that are to old and not so good as they were some years ago (Igor Larionov, Chris Chelios and Steve Duchesne ), it would have been much better to exchange them for some younger and more hungry players. But at the same time you can`t exchange ten NHL-veterans for some youngsters and still be a Stanely Cup contender, it will take some years to get this team younger and still keep it up front.

Next season Detroit will have three rookies, Jason Williams, Jesse Wallin and Pavel Datsyuk.

Jason Williams a 21 year young right winger who had great season in the AHL where he displayed his skills widely. He was signed to a three year contract after a fantastic training camp where he was among the best players. He could be on the 2nd line with Detroit.

Jesse Walin a 23 year old defensman that once again had a good season in AHL. He was one of the most consistant and important players on the team. Wallin is good stay-at-home defenseman with great leadership. Wallin is a RFA, but he will probably get signed, but with the signing of Fredrik Olausson and the hunt for another defenseman it is hard to see how Wallin will get icetime, maybe as 7th defenseman.

Pavel Datsyuk is a 23 years old Russian player that was hard to sign for Detroit. He had a great year in the Russian Superleague, and was a member of the Russian WC team in Germany where he also played very well and was 2nd line center on a line with the New York Islanders superstar Alexei Yashin. Datsyuk could get some icetime on the 3rd line becose of Igor Larionov`s age, but he will probably start the year in AHL.

Other youngsters that will presumably see more action next season are:

Yuri Butsayev, 23 year old winger that will get some icetime on the 3rd or 4th line.

Maxim Kuznetsov, 24 year old defensman that will be a 5th or 6th defenseman.

Boyd Devereaux, 23 year old center/winger, he could get some time on the 2nd or 3rd line.

Jiri Fischer a 21 year old future Elite-defenseman, he will for sure be top 3 defenseman next year.

And for the 2002-03 season Detroit will probably get another interesting player, Henrik Zetterberg and maybe even Niklas Kronwall.

By the way, the Detroit Red Wings page has been updated.