Red Wings Top Prospect Update

By Zoran Manojlovic

Some of the prospects in the organisation have progressed well, for example; Stefan Liv, Todd Jackson, Dmitri Bykov, Miroslav Blatak and so on, while others like Ryan Barnes, Alexander Seluyanov have gone the other way. It has been a good first half season for most of the prospects and it has been extremly exciting to watch last years draft picks, Igor Grigorenko, Drew Macintyre and others.

Here it is, take a look and feel free to leave comments at the bottom of the page.

1. Henrik Zetterberg

Position: C
Team: Timrå, SWE
Born: 1980
Height: 6-00
Weight: 187
Draft: 1999 draft, 7th round, 210th overall
Grade: 8.5
Previous rank: 1

Henrik is THE BEST prospect in the organisation. He has had a tough sophomore year in the Swedish Elite league, but still made the Olympics as a 21 year old thanks to his great performances at the international level. Could be in Detroit next year.

Plus: Skateing, sense, strength, passing, SKILLS, two-way game and leadership.

Minus: ?

Potential: Top line pivot.

2. Stefan Liv

Position: G
Team: HV 71, SWE
Born: 1980
Height: 6-00
Weight: 180
Draft: 2000 draft, 4th round, 102nd overall
Grade: 8
Previous rank: 3

Stefan is the top goalie and 2nd prospect overall of the Detroit Red Wings. He has been a top goalie in the Swedish elite league for the last two seasons and would have been in Salt Lake if not for a collar-bone injury. He will stay in Sweden for one more season and will need some AHL experience before entering the NHL.

Plus: Sense of humor, smart, calm, confident, lightning quick glove and pads.

Minus: Skating, stickhandling, and sometimes he overachieves.

Potential: Starting goalie

3. Niklas Kronwall

Position: D
Team: Djurgården, SWE
Born: 1981
Height: 6-00
Weight: 176
Draft: 2000 draft, 1st round, 29th overall
Grade: 7.5
Previous rank: 2

Niklas is having another solid season while other prospects in the organisation are playing great and that`s the main reason to Kronwall`s demotion to the no. 3 spot. Could play in Grand Rapids next year but will most likely play one more year in Sweden before coming over.

Plus: Skating, shot, smart, skills, strong willed, passing, hard worker, very good hitter.

Minus: Size, strength, overachieves sometimes.

Potential: Top 4 D-man and power play specialist.

4. Tomas Kopecky

Position: C
Team: Lethbridge, WHL
Born: 1982
Height: 6-03
Weight: 195
Draft: 2000 draft, 2nd round, 38th overall
Grade: 7
Previous rank: 4

Tomas had a great WJC after finishing tied for the 5th place in the scoring race, and is having a big year in the WHL. He left the WHL as the second scoring leader with 49 points in 32 games before taking of to the WJC. He has signed a three-year contract starting next year in the AHL with the Grand Rapid Griffins. He will need a year or two there before challangeing for a spot with the Red Wings.

Plus: Skills, passing, sense, mean streak, size, strength, two-way forward.

Minus: Skating, mean streak, two-way game.

Potential: 2nd or 3rd liner with offensive skill.

5. Igor Grigorenko

Position: RW
Team: Lada Togliatti, RUS
Born: 1983
Height: 5-11
Weight: 185
Draft: 2001 draft, 2nd round, 62nd overall
Grade: 7
Previous rank: 7

Igor didn`t recive quality ice-time with Lada`s Super League until after the WJC, and as last year after coming back from a great U-18 WJC, he has picked up his game and is now one of the best forwards on the team, getting increased ice-time. He has played on regular basis with the U-20 national team and has been the best scorer this season. Detroit tried to bring over Grigorenko for this season but couldn`t agree with Lada because of his three year contract with the team. Detroit may try to get him over for next season, and if they do so he will probably play in the juniors. He will need three to four more years of developing.

Plus: High skill level, smart, passing, scoring, unpredictible, flashy, plays a speedy game, tough.

Minus: Size, strength, two-way game.

Potential: Top 2 line flashy, scoring winger.

6. Pär Bäcker

Position: C
Team: Färjestad, SWE
Born: 1982
Height: 6-02
Weight: 180
Draft: 2000 draft, 6th round, 187th overall
Grade: 6.5
Previous rank: 5

Pär is having a good rookie season with Färjestad in the Swedish Elite league. He has been a regular center on the fourth line and has chipped in offensively without getting any power play ice time. Has been one of the best (if not the best) players throughout the whole year with the Swedish junior national team even dough he had a dissapointing WJC. Pär will stay in Sweden for two, three more seasons before moving over.

Plus: Skating, stickhandling, two-way player, calm, hard worker, passing, scoring.

Minus: Strength, add more muscle, shot.

Potential: 2nd, 3rd line two-way forward

7. Paul Ballantyne

Position: D
Team: Sault Ste. Marie, OHL
Born: 1982
Height: 6-03
Weight: 205
Draft: 2000 draft, 6th round, 196th overall
Grade: 6.5
Previous rank: 6

Paul is having a tough year offensively in OHL. He has not been able to continue on his great last year where he had 40 points in 62 games. But he has still been one of the best two-way defensemen in the league and will be in the AHL next season. He will need at least two years of seasoning on the farm before geting an NHL job.

Plus: Size, strength, clears the zone effectively, shot, passing, smart.

Minus: Offensive numbers, speed, quickness.

Potential: Top six rock steady d-man.

8. Sean Avery

Position: C
Team: Cincinnatti, AHL
Born: 1980
Height: 5-10
Weight: 188
Draft: signed as free agent in 1998
Grade: 6.5
Previous rank: 8

Sean has had a great year so far, he had a great training camp and a very good start in the AHL that earned him a 12 game recall to Detroit. Sean has matured and developed a very good two-way game in both AHL and NHL. He will be a great agitator in Detroit for years to come. He could have been in the NHL on regular basis by now if not for the Detroit Hall of Fame line up.

Plus: Skating, smart, aggressive, hard worker, solid offensively.

Minus: Undersized, strength.

Potential: 4th line agitator.

9. Jari Tolsa

Position: LW
Team: Frölunda, SWE
Born: 1981
Height: 6-01
Weight: 185
Draft: 1999 draft, 4th round, 120th overall
Grade: 6.5
Previous rank: 9

Jari Tolsa has been one of the most improved prospects in the organisation this year. He has developed his skating and strength and that has led to increased ice-time. He has been a regular on both PP and PK and has played a great two-way game throughout the whole year. He had a slow start and had only 3 points in his first 23 games, but has picked up his game and now has respectable 21 points in 40 games. Since Detroit now has its own farm team that needs to be filled up with 13 prospects, Tolsa could be heading for Grand Rapids next season to gain some strenght and adjust to the North American style.

Plus: Skating, hard worker, phenomenal passing skills, smart, responsible defensively.

Minus: Shot, strength, scoring touch.

Potential: Two-way third liner.

10. Andreas Jämtin

Position: RW
Team: AIK, Swe
Born: 1983
Height: 5-11
Weight: 185
Draft: 2001 draft, 5th round, 157th overall
Grade: 6
Previous rank: 11

Andreas is haveing a good year with AIK of the Elite league. Even though he is not getting tons of ice-time he has been a good insertion when allowed to play. He has also played with the junior team (J-20) where he has been one of the best players in the league pilling up 24 points (11G, 13A) in only 11 games. Jämtin has been regular with the national junior team and had a strong WJC, he will be one of the cornerstones on next years championship. Jämtin is still very young and will need time to mature since he still has problems with his attitude. Three four years away.

Plus: Speed, acceleration, skills, sense, soft hands, passing, mean streak.

Minus: Lack of discipline, interest, nonchalance, mean streak.

Potential: 3rd line two-way winger.