Detroit Red Wings Top 10 Prospects Update

By Zoran Manojlovic

Detroit Red Wings Top 10 Prospects Update

All of the Red Wings prospects are in action all over the world. In Canada, Usa, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Russia. Some are playing good and some arn`t, some of them will play in Nhl, some will not.

So let us take a look at the Top 10 players in the Red Wings organisation and their statistics so far into the season.

1. Henrik Zetterberg, C, 21 years, 6-1, 185, Grade: 8.5

01/02 Stats, Games 16 Goals 1 Assists 5 Points 6 Pim 4

Henrik Zetterberg has shown that last year was not an isolated case, during the pre-season he was dominating games like only he can, with great moves, nice passes, and his great two-way play. He has also become Alternate Capitan in Timra. Henrik played three games with the National Team where he picked up two helpers and played very good overall. So far in the season Henrik has been struggling (1G+5A in 16 games), but he has been playing good but unfortunately he has had some problems with the scoring. Henrik is allready one of the best in Sweden, this year he will look to become THE best and prepare himself for Detroit, and the NHL for the 2002-03 season. Henrik is Detroit`s indisputable Top Prospect and could become top line star in NHL.

2. Niklas Kronwall, D, 20 years, 6-0, 172, Grade: 7.5

01/02 Stats, Games 16 Goals 2 Assists 2 Points 4 Pim 24

Niklas started the year slowely while not picking up a point in the first 6 games of the season, but lately he has reganed confidence and started to produce, in the last 9 games he has scored 2 goals and 2 assists, he has also 24 Pim. Kronwall has bulked up a little bit and become more responsible deffensively, his two-way game and positioning is much better than last year and you can clearly see that he has one year older. Kronwall is the top defenseman in Red Wings organisation and has so much skill and desire that could make him a top 2 defenseman and a great point-man on the power play. He could be in NHL in 2 years.

3. Stefan Liv, G, 21 years, 6-1, 172, Grade: 7

01/02 Stats, Games 17 GAA 1.88 Save% .933 SO 3

Stefan Liv is a phenomenal goalie! So far in the season Liv has been outstanding with HV 71, he has started 17 games of 18 (one game missed duo to neck injury) with 1.88 GAA, .933 SP and 3 shotouts. Liv has also played one game with the National Team where he only allowed one goal and was Player of the game. Regarded as one of the best goalies in Sweden, Liv will compete for World Championship job more seriousley now that Mikael Tellquist has moved to Tornoto. Liv has a lot of experience for a 21 year old goalie and is showing promissing signs of becoming a great goalie in the future. Stefan said in an interview before the start of this season that he was considering a move to North America, but he decided to stay for at least one more year and I think that is a good decision for his devalopment. He will most likely be in Ahl next year. Liv has the potential to become a starting goalie in Nhl in a few years.

4. Tomas Kopecky, C, 19 years, 6-3, 190, Grade: 7

01/02 Stats, Games 13 Goals 9 Assists 18 Points 27 Pim 19

The young Slovak center has been outstanding in the first 13 games with Lethbridge of WHL, he has scored 9 goals and added 18 assists and pilled up 19 Pim. Tomas also has the best point-per-game procentage in both WHL and OHL. He has been voted player of the week after scoring 2 goals and 7 assists in two games earlier this month. Tomas is one of the leading forces on an upcoming top squad in WHL, last year the team was not so competative but Kopecky still adjusted well to the North American style of hockey and averaged a point per game and showed a lot of skill and finess. If Kopecky developes his skateing, he has the potential to become a star center in NHL. With his present skateing he could be a solid 2nd or great 3rd liner in three years.

5. Par Backer, C, 19 years, 6-2, 180, Grade: 6.5

01/02 Stats, Games 16 Goals 1 Assists 2 Points 3 Pim 6

Par Backer continues to be impressive, he performed very well in the pre season with Farjestads where he played 11 games scoring 3 goals and 1 assist and being one of the better players all the time which led to a spot on the best team in the league as a 19 year old. Backer started playing RW on the 2nd line but as the season began he was moved to 4th line center. Farjestads head coach Bengt Ake Gustafsson has said that Backer has all it takes to become rookie of the year in Sweden, but unfortunately he has had limited ice-time so far in the season averageing only 8 to 10 minutes per game on a team filled with good veteran players and that has held his production down. He has picked up 1 goal and 2 assists in 16 games and 6 Pim. He has allready been named to Swedens WJC team. Backer is still very young and fresh and he will play at least three to four years here in Sweden before he tryes North America. If he continues to score like he did last season then Backer has some upside as a 2nd liner.

6. Paul Ballantyne, D, 19 years, 6-3, 200, Grade: 6.5

01/02 Stats, Games 16 Goals 1 Assists 7 Points 8 Pim 13

“Bam Bam” once again impressed the Red Wings at the training camp in Treverse City. He was one of the best at the jr. Camp and then continued his great showing at the “real” camp with the Big Boys. So far in the season with Sault Ste. Marie he has been struggling with the offensive numbers, he has just scored 1 goal and 7 assists in the first 16 games. Ballantyne had a great season last year and will now look to improve even more this year and become one of the best in OHL with the Greyhounds. Ballantyne has had two great camps in and is showing great promiss for the future, he is two to three years away from prime time.

7. Igor Grigorenko, RW, 18 years, 5-11, 185, Grade: 6.5

01/02 Stats, Games 11 Goals 1 Assists 1 Points 2 Pim 18

Youngster Grigorenko has been a pleasent suprise in the pre season both with his team Lada and with the Russian U-20 team at a Tournament in Czech Republic, where he scored two goals in the first two games and was one of the best players on the team. He has strengthen his stock for the WJC which also are played in Czech Republic later this year. Also with Lada Igor played a small tournament where he played a solid two-way game and registered 1 goal and 1 assist in 4 games. So far in the season Igor has played 11 games registering 1 goal and 1 assists and 18 Pim. He has missed two games ( to injury) with Lada, but he is only 18 years old and it takes some time to adjust to the higher level. Grigorenko has shown that the 2001 U-18 tournament was no coincidence and has continued to play good, Grigorenko has the potential to play 2nd line RW in NHL and will need at least three more years before he can compete for a NHL spot.

8. Sean Avery, C, 21 years, 5-9, 185, Grade: 6

01/02 Stats, Games 6 Goals 0 Assists 0 Points 0 Pim 4

Sean Avery is one of my favorite prospects becose of his style of play. This guy has it all besides size. But he even with his small frame he is a huge pest on the ice. Sean has also a great hockey sense and speed. At last years camp Sean did not show up much, but this year he was ready for action, he was been one of the best players since the start of the camp. He has also played four exibition games with the big club and did some noise. Sean will play at least another year in AHL, and in the future he will be a great adition to the Red Wings.

9. Jari Tolsa, LW, 20 years, 6-1, 183, Grade: 6

01/02 Stats, Games 15 Goals 1 Assists 2 Points 3 Pim 4

Jari was one of the best junior players in Sweden last year, and a good sign of that was when he got the chance of plying with the Three Crowns (Swedish National team) in two pre-WC games. With one full year of elithockey experience with Frolunda, he is now ready to take his game to a higher level. He has been playing left wing on the first three lines and has picked up 1 goal and 2 assists in 15 games. That might not sound like a future 1st line player but he has been playing real good and has had some phenomenal setups that did not result in goals, and some pucks hitting the post. Tolsa has mutured a lot since last year and is now responsible two-way forward, and he is getting icetime on both PP and PK which shows that the coach has a lot confidence in the 20 year old winger. Tolsa will need at least three to four year before he can fight for a spot with the Red Wings.

Ryan Barnes, LW, 21 years, 6-2, 205, Grade: 6

01/02 Stats, Games 5 Goals 0 Assists 0 Points 0 Pim 7

Ryan had a tough season last year spoiled with injuryes which allowed him to play only 16 games in ECHL. This year Ryan has started very promissing at the camps with Detroit and could have a solid year with Cincinnati in AHL. Barnes also played one exibition game with Detroit where he played solid and had two fights, but after a good camp Barnes has slowed down in Ahl and he has not registered a point in the first 5 games. Barnes needs to play at least two more seasons in AHL before he can compete for a checking job in Detroit.